Central Coast Council has been allocated more than $97M in State and Federal funding over the past 18 months, but a report to Council’s Ordinary Meeting on July 22 saw several councillors claiming the Coast didn’t get its fair share of government monies and allocation of grant funding across the region was “skewed”.
The report showed Council has received more than $9.71M in external funding for nine priority projects since March 31 this year, which Mayor, Jane Smith, says will allow the delivery of key priority projects.
“Receiving funding allows Council to fulfil our promises to the community, by helping us deliver important projects across the Coast,” Clr Smith said.
“A large number of highly complex expressions of interests, business cases and applications have been produced by Council staff, who are to be commended on their achievements.”
But Councillor, Kyle MacGregor, said with rates making up only 30 per cent of revenue, only the best grant applications should be put forward and these should be “across the whole Coast and not just in one state electorate”.
Councillor, Doug Vincent, said grant money allocation was “skewed” and “lopsided.”
“Toukley misses out, is it just bad luck?” he said.
Clr Vincent said the region was “under performing” in grant applications.
“I don’t think there would be one councillor here who would say we are getting our fair share,” he said.
Councillor, Richard Mehrtens, quoted projects in other council areas which had attracted grant funding and said the Coast’s grants “don’t stack up too well”.
Councillor, Greg Best, said Council’s loss of the promised $4.6m grant for the Winney Bay walkway due to design hold-ups “didn’t help”.
“You reap what you sow,” he said.
Clr MacGregor said the allocation of grants funding “shouldn’t be political”.
“It should be about what the community needs and not what the masters of Macquarie St want.,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be bullied into accepting some offers.”
Council will continue to investigate State and Federal funding opportunities.
Agenda item 5.4
Central Coast Council Ordinary Meeting, July 22
Central Coast Council Watch
Reporter: Merilyn Vale