Shire withdrawal a surprise to mayor

‘I can’t appoint a commissioner,’ he said. ‘They have walked away from the process, but that does not give me the right to dismiss them; they haven’t done anything illegal.

‘The Governor signs the order for a commissioner and there is no law saying you have to take part in the process.’

Last week, Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire President Keith Ellis said the council would no longer take part in the Local Implementation Committee (LIC) with the City of Armadale and Shire of Murray.

Mr Simpson said the council was burying its head in the sand again.

‘Without them taking part in the reform process, they will have no input and no longer be able to represent their ratepayers,’ he said.

‘We’re right at the pointy end of things now and would like them at the table.’

Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones wasn’t aware Serpentine Jarrahdale had withdrawn from the LIC until contacted by Comment News.

Mr Zelones said the City would continue the LIC with Murray, as it had before Serpentine Jarrahdale joined.

‘Our aim has always been to ensure the best possible outcome for our current and future residents as we are growing quickly and want to ensure the reform process has no negative effects on our community,’ he said.

The Government provided $60 million in funding in the State Budget, $45 million of it in the form of low-interest loans the councils would have to pay back, the remaining $15 million in grants, with $5 million released each year.

The Local Implementation Committees were established to help local governments navigate their way through the amalgamation process.

Cr Ellis said the Budget had allocated nowhere near enough for the reform process and would only lead to rising rates and reduced services.

‘It has become very clear to this council that our community and the residents of Armadale and Murray are expected to pay for this unnecessary and expensive process,’ he said.