Lithgow City Council will put $350,000 per year from their operations budget into reserve to upgrade the storm water infrastructure in the Lithgow CBD.
The money is being saved for plans to upgrade the storm water infrastructure at the intersection of Laurence and Main Street in 2022-23.
This caused some debate among councillors, with Cr Stephen Lesslie failing to move an amendment to the recommendation from director of infrastructure and services Jonathon Edgecombe at council on Monday, October 28.
Cr Lesslie wanted to lower the amount put into reserve.
"What the Operations Committee is asking for in this area is that $350,000 a year be taken from the operation budget and place it in reserve to facilitate this upgrade and that this upgrade be done by 2022-23, should council decide to do the work," he said.
"This money will come out of budget and therefore the amount of money spent on roads, gutters, footpaths, etc will be reduced each year by $350,000."
Cr Lesslie said Lithgow's roads needed money put into them urgently.
"Our roads need this money and they need money spent on them now, the drainage problems at Laurence Street, Cupro Street and George Coates Avenue needs fixing now, they can't wait until then ," he said.
Cr Lesslie recommended that council consider borrowing money to get the work done.
"This particular case meets all the good requirements, it's a specific works project, it's expensive, and it needs to be done urgently," he said.
Cr Lesslie said he had heard the community's call for roads to be fixed around the region.
"The $350,000 being taken out could be spent on the urgent roads we've got, the one thing we know in this community, and you can read it on every Facebook page is 'what about the roads?'," he said.
You get it all the time, it is the major issue and the major complaint across the board.Cr Stephen Lesslie
"We need to take that seriously, it's the number one concern and issue in our community."
Mr Edgecombe said that removing flooding issues from Main Street down to Farmers Creek was the primary concern.
"We have been working for some time on this project and we've become aware of infrastructure in that area that put a stop to our original plans," he said.
"But we have been working with external consultants to develop a plan, and think this is the best and only way of removing the historical flooding issue."
Mr Edgecombe said that council had putting money aside for the project.
"There is a small amount in reserve, $120,000, which is a start, and the intent of our recommendation was to continue to put money away into reserve for 2022, but we will investigate every alternative to get this done as soon as humanly possible," he said.
Council general manager Graham Faulkner reminded council that a few months ago there was a Finance Committee recommendation that went through, stating council should be against borrowing money.
"We are still not 'fit for the future' and while roads are important, there's no doubt about it, being a financially sustainable council has to be priority," he said.
Deputy mayor Cr Steve Ring said it had to make difficult decisions as a council.
"Whatever we borrow we have to pay back, so $350,000 comes off roads. We only have one pool of money, so it has to come from somewhere," he said.
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