AFTER it was discovered the Armidale Showground was $8543.33 in debt on a loan previously believed to be interest free, Armidale Regional Council has agreed to wipe the slate clean.
June Dangar is acting as the treasurer for the showground and said the interest debt was the result of a misunderstanding between Armidale Regional Council and the former Armidale Showground Reserve Trust.
“There was a misunderstanding that it was a no interest account that they didn’t have to pay,” Ms Dangar said.
I actually looked at what we owed Council and nearly had a heart attack.- June Dangar.
“I actually looked at what we owed Council and nearly had a heart attack and so every new bill that came in I made sure was paid, but the debt continued to grow because there was still interest being charged on a large amount.”
After a 12 month search, neither Council or the Trust were able to locate documents to verify that such an agreement was in place.
Ms Dangar said she was incredibly grateful to Council for waiving the debt.
“We are grateful that they have seen fit to do this as the amount will be used to continue with our extensive maintenance program,” she said.
In 2009 an agreement was made between the two parties to waive half the rates of the Armidale Showground Reserve Trust and take $3000 off the cost of the water rates.
A search of Council records found that this decision was not actioned.
Many community groups use the facilities at the showground and the grounds attract a number of large-scale events to the area.
Armidale Regional Council administrator Ian Tiley said the showground is a vital community asset and as a result the debt would be wiped.
“Apart from writing off the interest on arrears of rates, I think it’s important for the future that the council engage on the new trust,” he said.
“And I’m going to require someone from Council, preferably someone in finance, to be part of the membership.
“It will give them the opportunity for a clean start in a financial sense.”
The showground has recently received a grant to upgrade the main access road.
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