A councillor is demanding an explanation for why Wagga had to buy an old ambulance station from the NSW government for more than $600,000 when other councils have been gifted similar buildings for just $1.
In March, Wagga City Council purchased the historic red brick ambulance station on Johnston Street as part of plans to transform the heritage building into a thriving community hub.
Councillor Dan Hayes said the state government denied requests to only charge $1 for the building because their policy was to sell properties at market value.
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The reasoning was accepted and the council paid $610,000 for the building, but this month the state government gifted an old courthouse to Armidale Regional Council for just $1 - sparking outrage from Cr Hayes.
"On the face of it, it looks dodgy and it looks like we got conned," he said.
"It's made us scratch our head and wonder 'what the hell is going on here' because we don't understand why a policy was applied to Wagga and then completely dismissed in another area."
The NSW government did not respond to The Daily Advertiser's request for comment.
Cr Hayes has put forward a motion which, if supported by his fellow councillors, will have Wagga City Council seek an official explanation about the discrepancy.
"Let's give the state government a chance to explain but if it's not a clear and reasonable answer then we deserve to say 'we were dudded' and demand not just an apology, but an apology with a cheque," Cr Hayes said.
An old school in Bombala, Crown buildings in Moree and Tamworth, and an ambulance station in Bathurst have also recently been gifted to local councils by the state government.
Former mayor Greg Conkey fought tooth and nail for the Johnston Street station to be gifted for $1 and said the community "would be justified in being outraged" by the inconsistency.
"In the late 1920s, the Wagga community purchased the land, took out a loan to build the station, paid that off and then gifted it to the state government," he said.
"Now, instead of just gifting it back, the government made Wagga City Council pay over $600,000 - it's morally wrong."
Mr Conkey said he'd like to see the state government re-think its decision and do the right thing by the Wagga community.
"They should return the cheque or provide a grant that covers the cost which we paid," he said.
Cr Hayes' motion will be discussed and voted on by councillors at the council meeting on Tuesday.
"The government better have a bloody good response," he said.
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