Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Owen Hughan said the organisation would have paid off its $200,000 debt to Horsham Rural City Council by June.
The association has been paying Horsham council back in yearly installments of up to $10,000 since 2004/05.
“We haven’t signed the lease because we haven’t seen it,” Mr Hughan said.
“We’ll be sending the lease to our solicitors before we sign it as we believe we have equity in the building.”
Mr Hughan said Horsham council’s decision on Monday to offer an extra $7500 in maintenance funding per year was not much compared to other sporting codes.
“The council probably provides about $60,000 to the football oval, which has less people attend,” he said.
HORSHAM Rural City councillors have cut Horsham Amateur Basketball Association’s annual lease from $15,500 to $8000 but decided against capping council funding the same amount.
The new lease agreement will last for 18 months lease to December 31, 2018 and will see Horsham Basketball Stadium gain up to $7500 extra funding per year.
Horsham council will continue to maintain an allocation within its budget, for the purpose of renovations and refurbishments.
Cr David Grimble put forward an amendment to maintain Council’s current contribution to the basketball stadium.
“I would, first and foremost, like to congratulate the Basketball Association in managing its debt, which has been quite significant over a period of time,” he said.
“What I am proposing to do is accept the $8000 from the basketball association but maintain our current level of funding to the organisation.
“One of the things we are embarking on is to look at further planning work around the future needs of our sporting precinct.”
Cr Grimble said there was a risk of inadequate funding.
“The town hall, prior to the redevelopment, fell into a state of disrepair and that was due to the council not making adequate budget considerations,’ he said.
“From what I have heard the basketball stadium has a significant use-by life.
“It is prudent that this council maintain the current level of funding, which is not large amounts of money, in conjunction with a reduced contribution to acknowledge the good work of the association in managing that debt so they can mange the facility for the 18 months and maybe beyond that.”
Corporate services director Graeme Harrison told councillors that in the years 2003/04 to 2004/05, Council and Horsham Amateur Basketball Association jointly contributed $40,000 towards a refurbishment/renovations fund.
In 2004/05 a further $10,000 was made available through a Council Community Grant.
“This plus a $200,000 ‘loan’ to the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association funded renovations to the stadium,” Mr Harrison said.
Cr John Robinson said he wanted to see the stadium maintained for many more years as there was nothing wrong with it.
“It would take me a bit to be persuaded to abandon it,” he said.
“I will be concerned if we spend $10 million on a new multi-sports stadium when the experience of other regional cities and towns around us shows that’s a bad move; Hamilton and Warrnambool are examples.”
“I have yet to see feedback that we are looking at other options before me build new. I am very supportive that we maintain this valuable asset.”
Councillors did vote to revoke the Horsham Basketball Stadium Committee of Management.
Cr Mark Radford disputed a line in the report that described the committee as just a liaison between the association and Horsham council.
Cr Radford said he wanted proper representation to continue.
Mayor Pam Clarke said the original motion represented an agreement between the association and Horsham council that had been developed for six months.
“I don’t think its up to council to disregard that agreement,” she said.
Cr Gimble said it was a small change in a $50 million budget.
“I imagine that the basketball stadium will have no objection to having its funds maintained,” he said.
“The money will not necessarily be spent as it will go into a reserve fund.”