Merger hearing tomorrow

However, the LGAB’s process now waits for councils outside the area to comment on last-minute, major changes to proposals affecting their areas.

‘Sending recommendations to the State Government depends on once we have received submissions back from the councils of Cockburn and Kwinana, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, and Melville,’ LGAB chairman Mel Congerton said.

The councils have three weeks to comment on changes the board made last week to proposals that are frontrunners for recommendations to the Government in late August.

It is now proposed that the bottom third of Serpentine-Jarradale not join the Shire of Murray and the City of Cockburn and Town of Kwinana merge, causing the City to lose suburbs east of Fremantle and Leeming to the City of Melville.

Mr Congerton would not say why the changes had been made but confirmed the plan for the western suburbs was complete.

He said there would ‘absolutely not’ be any last-minute change to that proposal.

His stance comes despite the City of Subiaco leading in the legal action alleging the State Government forced councils to merge, keeping current borders was refused and LGAB members had conflicts of interest.

Serpentine-Jarradale is also in the action and Shire President Keith Ellis said his meeting with the LGAB was disappointing because there had been no cost analysis of how much the complete takeover, on which ratepayers had to comment, would cost.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the poll provision allowing a ratepayers’ vote on mergers would be considered, after no reasons were given for the changes to his council that would halve its rates base and provide no funds to merge with Kwinana.