Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Costly Jerilderie Shire burden

Jerilderie Shire general manager Craig Moffitt says prominent local buildings are becoming a costly burden.

February 26, 2014 4:35am

Jerilderie Shire will review the use of prominent local buildings which are costing council ‘‘quite a deal of money’’, according to general manager Craig Moffitt.

Mr Moffitt cited the former Willows Museum building, the RSL Hall, the old court house building and the Jerilderie gym as areas of concern.

He said whether through vacancy or struggling to generate money, some tough decisions may need to be made in regards to these buildings.

Both the Willows Museum building and the old court house are owned by the state government with council as the official trustee.

Mr Moffitt said council was in the process of determining a solution but admitted the closing down of buildings or ceasing to be the trustee was a possibility.

‘‘It’s unreasonable (the amount of money council is paying compared to the amount the buildings are being used),’’ he said.

‘‘We have to make sure we get value for money.

‘‘At the end of the day I have a huge bill and we’re not getting much income to cover it.

‘‘Ultimately council has to make a decision whether we want to spend all this money on these buildings. In some cases we’re spending money for the small few.’’

Mr Moffitt said council was trying to attract businesses willing to fill the empty buildings.

Expressions of interest have also been issued, Mr Moffitt said, and ‘‘a little bit of interest’’ has been shown.

‘‘Interest doesn’t always end up with results,’’ he said.

‘‘The RSL Hall is being occupied by the Men’s Shed but they’re not paying any rent.

‘‘And the court house is the same story. We built a new library so now it’s not being occupied.

‘‘The gym and basketball centre is being used by a small number of people. The problem with the building is that it has significant costs — about $100,000 to $150,000 — to keep it operating.

‘‘We need to find out whether this is viable.

‘‘With the state government-owned buildings, we can’t sell them and we can’t pull them down. We would have to hand it back (to the state government) or cease to be trustee.’’

Council held its strategic planning workshop on February 4 and a focus of the meeting was the future of the vacant or rarely used buildings.

Mr Moffitt said council had discussed several solutions however was not ready to publicly comment on them.

‘‘It comes down to building usage verses cost of ownership,’’ he said.

‘‘We didn’t have a resolution, it’s a matter of sorting through the ideas and exploring them.

‘‘Once we have worked on them we will take it back to council.

‘‘We will also be asking for the community’s opinion.’’

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