Albury City could claw back gallery, road money

ALBURY Council is chasing a $1.37 million saving on two city projects.

The council has been encouraged to apply for the latest round of grants under the NSW Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme.

If successful, it could reduce ratepayers’ contributions to the $10.5 million art gallery redevelopment and $2.6 million for Lavington improvements including Wagga Road.

Albury hasn’t made a recent application for the scheme and has been encouraged to submit a bid along with other councils that haven’t received grants in recent rounds.

The latest round will provide a 3 per cent interest subsidy on long-term loans taken out to bankroll eligible projects.

On top of an initial $3.5 million for the art gallery, the council agreed to commit a further $2.45 million from its cash reserves or more borrowings when a NSW Government contribution failed to materialise.

The council will receive a $955,000 saving on the art gallery if successful with its application to the scheme and a further $417,000 won’t have to be spent on the Lavington CBD works.

In September, the council re-allocated $600,000 funding for Griffith Road to Wagga Road.

The council originally set aside $2 million for general Lavington CBD works between 2015-19 that would be completed simultaneously.

The Lavington works would be carried out next financial year if the application was successful.

But the outcome of the application won’t be known until May, so the council won’t include the potential savings in its draft budget due for release in late April.

The council had originally been hoping to secure almost $500,000 for works in Wagga or Griffith roads from the former federal Labor government.

But the money wasn’t signed off before the September election was announced and the Abbott government refused to guarantee funding for it and other projects that had not been approved.

Work is due to start on the art gallery redevelopment in early February after the council recently awarded the $8.3 million construction contract to local builder Zauner.

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