Cowra Council and the NSW Government have reached a deal to hand over operational control of the Wyangala Sewerage Scheme to Council.
At an Extraordinary Council meeting on Monday night, Councillors voted in favour of the General Manager, Paul Devery signing the Handover Payment Deed of $1.6mil with a 3.5% discount rate.
Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West said Council always had the intention of reassuming control from the state government.
“We were fully aware there were issues out there,” Cr West said.
“It’s a fair handover payment to make sure Cowra and Wyangala aren't being shrugged with a new scheme.
“It will allow us to even that out and bring in some good quality infrastructure and move forward with some certainty.”
Councillor Bruce Miller said this was the best offer Council could take after years of negotiating with the state government.
“It just indicates that if Council had accepted the first job, the community would have been a long way out of pocket,” Cr Miller said.
“The initial offer was a joke and patronising in some ways.
“It’s a credit to how the DPI Water staff and Council have worked together.”
Cr Miller said the handover deal could mean work and upgrades on the scheme could start after years of neglect.
“It’s been neglected by its current owners, the NSW Government,” he said.
“This is about trying to even out the load that will be placed on our ratepayers.
“We want to be responsible citizens into the future. It could have been an environmental disaster.”
Councillor Peter Wright echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying the people of Wyangala deserve better.
“It will go a long way to helping the environmental outcomes,” Cr Wright said.
“It will be a benefit to the area environmentally.”
Councillor Ray Walsh noted that Wyangala Waters will also be connected to the scheme, which will greatly improve their facilities.
“It’s a compliment to our staff, we as Councillors were very unhappy with the original proposal.”
The state funding program for the Wyangala Sewerage Scheme is scheduled to cease on June 30, 2017.