Shoalhaven City Council held an Extraordinary Meeting today to discuss the proposed merger of Kiama Municipal and Shoalhaven City councils.
Council voted unanimously to adopt a position stating the present proposal is unworkable in its present form.
“My view is that this merger proposal, presented in its current form, contains several anomalies, statement of financial processes and rating proposals that could well jeopardise Shoalhaven City’s capability to grow and retain its Fit for the Future status,” said Mayor Joanna Gash.
“The financial figures within the proposal document simply do not add up. Additionally, the figures in the report do not reflect the Fit for the Future criteria of the State Government.”
“Furthermore, there are flaws in the assumptions of the supporting KPMG report. We have concerns the report does not adequately display the true costs of the merger.”
“The proposal is also silent on Shoalhaven Water.”
“It is therefore found that the merger proposal is unworkable in its present format as no long term benefits have been explained,” said Clr Gash.
“Council has supported and continues to support the need, rationale and principles of Local Government reform. Council will continue to maintain an open and positive dialogue with the State Government on all advice, issues and concerns and leave the door open for further submissions.”
“Council has determined a way forward for this proposal and although the decision is ultimately out of our hands, Council will clearly communicate with the State Government that we are in opposition to the proposal in its current form.”
“Council will also continue to communicate to the delegate the collaborative work that has already occurred on the Joint Organisation. This is information which could potentially achieve the same aim that is defined within the merger proposal.”
“Council will be undertaking an information campaign, to inform our residents about the merger proposal and to encourage the community to make a submission to the delegate for consideration.”
“A community survey will also be conducted to assist Council fully understand the community view about the proposal and be able to communicate this to the delegate.”
“Council will now be preparing a submission to the delegate which will outline an evidence based response under the each of the ten assessment criteria.”
“Council will also continue to seek further clarification on a number of issues including the different water authorities, government funding and the rate freeze.”
“There may be further information coming, that is unknown at this time and although Council has adopted this position today, we still need to allow for additional information to be considered should it arise and make further submissions.”
“I encourage the community to view all the information available to Council, to visit our website, the Council boundary review website and to make their voices heard,” said Clr Gash.
CONTACT: Mayor, Joanna Gash - 0427 160 170