WARRINGAH ratepayers should be asked if they would support an additional rates levy to go towards the Sea Eagles’ ``urgent and ongoing funding needs’’, according to Warringah councillor Virginia Laugesen.
Cr Laugesen: the Sea Eagles couldn't afford to pay Warringah Council the market rent for Brookvale Oval
Cr Laugesen said the council was being constantly told how passionate and supportive the local community was towards the NRL team and so it should be asked if it would support the additional levy.
The idea has caused yet another schism in the council, as it is understood the majority of councillors oppose it and will vote against it at the next council meeting.
Cr Laugesen said as a ratepayer she would not support an additional levy but the community should have the chance to respond.
``I want to make it clear, all I am asking for is for a question to be included in the council’s 2010 budget draft survey asking the community what it thinks,’’ Cr Laugesen said. ``As a resident I would not vote for it but we are frequently told that there is a huge base of local support and if the majority decide that that’s what they want, then that’s what should happen.’’
But in a letter to The Manly Daily today, Cr Laugesen said the Sea Eagles couldn’t afford to pay Warringah Council the market rent for Brookvale Oval because of declining ticket sales and the NRL ``which siphons the TV rights money from Brookvale games and away from Warringah Council’’.
She added: ``In the face of the challenges above, a levy is the only practical option left to consider if fans and residents want to keep the Sea Eagles at Brookvale without other council-funded projects facing cutbacks or cancellations.’’
Cr Vincent De Luca echoed Cr Laugesen and said he would personally not support a levy but the community should be asked.
Mayor Michael Regan said he did not support a forced levy or a poll question and was opposed to ``any further increases in rates’’.
``I don’t support a poll question because it sends a mixed message about what we are trying to achieve in our budget process,’’ Cr Regan said.