Councils at odds over grants

The Kalamunda Shire and City of Belmont will make separate submissions to the State Government, due next month, about amalgamation plans for the councils.

But they have also made separate applications for a $200,000 grant as part of the submission process. The grants are being offered to help with the cost of developing the proposal to the Local Government Advisory Board, establishment of a Local Implementation Committee and for preliminary implementation planning for the proposed amalgamation.

Ms Hardy said the Shire applied for the grant last week but was up against Belmont for the funds.

‘The City of Belmont has applied for the funding as well but we do not know how it will be distributed,’ she said. ‘The whole amount could go to one or the other, or be split between us.’

Ms Hardy said the two councils were ‘left in a circular argument’ and ‘could not move forward’ after they were unable to agree on the number of representatives for each area after the proposed amalgamation. She said the disagreement led to them making separate submissions and applications.

City of Belmont chief executive Stuart Cole said the council hoped the funds would be distributed fairly.

‘The City will be taking whatever action is required to ensure the funds are fairly distributed between the two councils,’ he said.

‘Failure by the State Government to allocate the City of Belmont any grant funds may disadvantage the City and its community.’

Ms Hardy said if the Shire was unsuccessful in obtaining the grant, it would have to fund the expenses.

‘The cost of amalgamation is unknown at this point in time, however the Shire is keeping a log of all time and resources to date and this will continue as the situation evolves,’ she said.

The Department of Local Government is remaining tight-lipped on individual applications until all are received by the October 4 cut-off date. The grant can be used up until June 30, 2014.