The City of Greater Bendigo has spent close to $100,000 of ratepayer money removing graffiti around the city over the past three years.
And the financial impost of this vandalism has nearly doubled for the city over the past year – up from $22,000 in 2015/16 to $39,000 in the current financial year.
In the 2014/15 fiscal year, $31,023 was spent cleaning up defaced areas.
In a bid to reduce the strain on council coffers, the City of Greater Bendigo recently applied for increased funding through a state government Graffiti Prevention Grants Program.
The city has applied for a $23,500 grant for a local program aimed to better educate youngsters on the legality of street art.
The City of Greater Bendigo Manager Community Partnerships, Steven Abbott, said it was looking to increase the throughput of younger people in the program by partnering with local colleges.
“We want to try and help people to start producing art rather than a tag,” he said.
Bendigo police this week arrested a man, and seized nine spray cans, after he was caught “tagging” a temporary fence with graffiti outside Bendigo TAFE.
Police said the Quarry Hill man, 19, would be charged on summons with willful damage.
In August police reported an spike in illegal graffiti amid calls by street artists for a bigger, more experimental space for art.
Bendigo skate park – on the corner of the McIvor Highway – and Chancery Lane are areas where legal street art is permitted, but the City of Greater Bendigo has not identified any other display sites, Mr Abbott said.
Despite this, Mr Abbott said Bendigo's overall graffiti problem was small, with the municipality know to be “a fairly graffiti-free city”.
“There are some isolated areas, in particular centrally, with bridges and public infrastructure – alley way walls, and bus stops,” he said.
The grants are part of the state government’s Community Crime Prevention Program, which helps promote community safety and prevent crime in communities across the state.
In 2016, the City of Greater Bendigo was given $17,300 for its CBD graffiti prevention project.