East Fremantle aligned with City of Fremantle ahead of potential council merger

EAST Fremantle is in step with City of Fremantle ahead of a potential merger between the two councils.

But the Town’s residents could be going to the polls to decide whether to merge with the City if a petition reaches 250 signatures.

Mayor James O’Neill said he believed that number had nearly been reached.

‘Some of these are from residents door knocking with the petition,’ he said.

‘If the 250 is achieved and deemed to have met the provisions that will trigger a poll on January 31, 2015.’

Regardless, acting chief executive Gary Clark stressed that there could be no delay in preparation should the amalgamation go ahead.

The most important aspects were to work on a budget for next year and to establish that the new city needed wards before council elections could be held, he said.

East Fremantle councillors adopted a near identical set of resolutions to the ones City of Fremantle had endorsed.

They were to form a Local Implementation Committee, to seek to have a ward system before council elections, to delay the election if no ward system was in place by October and to work with the City of Fremantle on both ward structure and a 2015/2016 budget.

A commissioner is intended to be appointed by July, 2015 to oversee the changes, which Mr Clark said would require a budget to be developed by the existing two councils.

Mayor James O’Neill said after the meeting creating a joint budget would require a lot of work by both parties.

‘However all the meetings we have had with Fremantle have been positive and rewarding,’ he said.

‘At the moment we are looking at wards and developing a proposal that will, I think, be acceptable to most residents.

‘The Town also intends to look at the concerns of the community and attempt to address those in regards to keeping what is unique as well as ensuring our staff are both financially and professionally looked after is important.’