The final cost of MidCoast Council’s administration and customer service centre at Yalawanyi Ganya, Taree has been reported to Councillors and the community – coming in just under the $18.646 million budget.
In reporting the final costs to the March meeting of Council, it was revealed the project came in at $18.471 million, including all head contractor costs, workstations, furniture and fittings, professional services and the move itself.
“It is very pleasing to be able to report to the elected body that this project came in both under budget and on time,” General Manager, Adrian Panuccio, commented.
Mr Panuccio said a review of those involved in the project revealed more than half the contractors who worked on the new administration and customer service centre were from the MidCoast local government area.
An additional 37 per cent were from other regional areas, including the Port Macquarie-Hastings region with only eight per cent of the contractors from metropolitan areas.
Mr Panuccio said the centralisation was already starting to realise savings in operating one building over the former three locations.
The rationalisation of printers alone is expected to save $1 million over five years, with 26 less printers in operation than there was at the three former offices.
The centralised administration centre has also dramatically reduced electricity expenses, with the bill $5,000 a month less than the total electricity costs for the previous three offices.
“At this stage we only have two months’ worth of data for electricity costs, so we will continue to monitor over a 12-month period to obtain more accurate data,” Mr Panuccio said.
This saving has been gained by both the centralisation and the use of solar panels on the new building.
Mr Panuccio said the financing strategy to fund the project – which relied on a combination of loans, property sales and lease arrangements – was also on track.
“Our financing strategy was based on $20 million for the design and construction elements of the project, and given the project has come in at $18.471 we are ahead of our projected position.”
The former water office in Muldoon Street, Taree has been leased to a State Government agency and vacant land on The Lakes Way, Tuncurry has been sold, with funds from both going towards the office centralisation project.
The former Council offices in Pulteney Street, Taree and 16 Breese Parade Forster have been marketed, along with a vacant block at 18 Breese Parade.