No money to cover merge costs

‘They’ve got nothing in the budget other than to implement the submissions, so it’s pretty clear now we will have to fund it with asset sales,’ Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan said.

Last Thursday’s budget allocated just $2 million to be shared among the nine groups of merging councils across Perth to fund each of their submissions.

There is no money listed for merging councils to pay for the costs of mergers including staff, making policies conform or linking IT systems in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, by which time 14 new councils would have been operating for a year across Perth.

On June 30, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson announced the Government wanted Cottesloe, Claremont, Mosman Park, Subiaco, Nedlands, Peppermint Grove and Cambridge councils to merge and take on North Fremantle, Wembley, Churchlands and part of Woodlands.

Mr Morgan said staff advice was that it could take up to $2.5 million just to write the G7’s submission on the Government’s proposal.

Asked why there was no money in the budget for mergers and how council will be paying for the changes, a spokeswoman for Mr Simpson said the initial $2 million was for development of proposals in line with the government model and early planning. ‘Further funding will be decided once the proposals are received,’ she said.