By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A $10 million loan will be sought by Greater Dandenong Council to partly fund its Springvale Community Precinct project.
A majority of councillors at a 27 May meeting approved the borrowing for up to 10 years, which will be publicly tendered.
The total borrowings for the Springvale project will be $20 million – two $10 million loans in 2018-’19 and 2019-‘20.
Proceeds from the sale of the council’s former depot in View Road will also help fund the $51.5 million project.
Councillors argued that “sensible” debt was essential to deliver major projects, such as Dandenong Market, NPAC, the Dandenong council building and Harmony Square.
Cr Matthew Kirwan said neighbouring councils such as Monash, Kingston and Knox hadn’t delivered major projects because they were adverse to debt.
In opposition, Cr Tim Dark warned of slowing economic growth forecasts with Greater Dandenong usually one of the first to be hit by unemployment rises.
He said the council should be paying down its debts, which are estimated to total $58.5 million by the end of June.
“In a slowing economy we should ensure we’re as slim as we can be.”
Cr Sean O’Reilly said the Springvale library and precinct would be enjoyed by current and future residents, who would be “paying it back in their future rates”.
It was preferable to wasting money on maintaining “old and decrepit” facilities, he said.
The loans were at responsible levels, given the council’s income of about $200 million a year, Cr Jim Memeti said.
The Springvale project was on-budget and on-time to be completed by 2020, he added.