ALBURY councillor Darren Cameron believes ratepayers’ money would be better spent on installing security cameras rather than supporting trader group Albury Central.
The group is largely bankrolled by $140,000 raised from a special fee levied on central Albury businesses.
The closed circuit television network of 16 cameras between Kiewa and Olive streets supported by Cr Cameron will cost a similar amount.
Albury Central had direct council funding of $25,000 cut to $15,000 next financial year along with the scrapping of $17,000 in cash and kind support to the annual Applause Festival.
Cr Cameron mentioned Albury Central’s funding as a possible way of off-setting the cost of CCTV on Monday night.
“If we need to fund a more extensive and expensive system there is the ideal, applicable and righteous source of the money,” he said.
“People who benefit most from this will be the Dean Street traders.
“Rest assured I know where we can get the money.”
The Applause Festival has been put on hold this year due to the art gallery redevelopment.
CCTV cameras in Albury’s main street remain an option with Cr Cameron gaining enough support for another report to come before the council in October.
He has linked the cameras with the council plans to introduce Wi-Fi coverage in parts of central Albury as part of a digital economy strategy in conjunction with Wodonga Council.
Cr Cameron opposed the strategy when it was adopted by the council.
“CCTV cameras won’t stop a drunk, angry man or woman throwing a punch,” he said.
“They serve a broader, good strategic purpose — they deter other types of crime like vandalism, for example.
“We need to stop playing ducks and drakes.”
Dean Street trader Daryl Betteridge was one of three councillors to oppose CCTV cameras.
“The only possible upside is it will allow authorities vested with the power to arrest people a higher conviction rate,” he said.
“It’s a police issue — police are funded from the state government and the government should provide the infrastructure for that organisation to do their job properly.”