TAMWORTH Regional Council has been urged to apply for federal funding to fix up the city's two pools, which are in desperate need of maintenance.
The federal government has $150 million available for regional sporting infrastructure.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said council staff were always looking for funding opportunities, but was conscious any money spent on maintaining the pools could become redundant when council's proposed $67m aquatic centre gets off the ground.
"Would you spent that amount of money on something when you are looking to replace them?" Cr Murray asked.
"There is an obligation to consider that when you're spending public money.
"There is a short-term and a long-term game here. The long-term is the new health and wellness centre, with the new aquatic centre. The short-term is between now and then, and that's an undetermined time frame."
New England MP Barnaby Joyce said he'd already raised the grant opportunity with a number of councillors.
"I know there are concerns about the maintenance costs of the pools, and I also know that council is very much in favour of a new aquatic centre," Mr Joyce said.
"The New England electorate is a big place, and if Tamworth doesn't want it, I'm sure we can find others that do.
"I'm very aware of how important these pools are to country towns, having learnt to swim at the Kootingal pool."
Tamworth Rate Payers Association's Stephen Maher said council's own dilapidation report estimated the cost of fixing both pools at $1.15 million.
"Compared to the $67 million for the new aquatic centre, that's not a lot of money," Mr Maher said.
"I would encourage council to support Barnaby Joyce's suggestion to apply for funding to do the minimum maintenance, and perhaps some refurbishment, while the opportunity is there."