CITY of Belmont Mayor Phil Marks believes its merger with the Shire of Kalamunda could cost anything up to $7 million.
Mr Marks expressed extreme disappointment with funding options offered by the State Government recently to help it achieve local government reform following a briefing with all metropolitan mayors and chief executives.
He said the cost of incorporating Kalamunda within an expanded Belmont boundary would have to be borne by ratepayers.
Mr Marks was referring to the State Government’s $60 million funding package for reform that includes up to $15 million in grants, with $5 million each financial year from 2014-15, plus $45 million in loans with a 2 per cent subsidy on the interest rate.
He forecast the cost of the Belmont-Kalamunda merger would be ‘$5 million to $7 million’, adding the $1.25 million government grant per amalgamation would result in a shortfall of $3.75 million to $5.75 million that would need to be funded by affected ratepayers through repayment of loan borrowings.
‘The LGAB has not included in its considerations the latest property valuation data for rating purposes. In our case, there is a differential in the residential rate in the dollar of 18.4 per cent,’ Cr Marks said.
‘An immediate correction would result in an 18.4 per cent increase for Belmont ratepayers.
‘The additional cost to the community could be as much as $3.5 million for residential rates alone.’
WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said another $60 million was needed for the Government-endorsed mergers.