Dated February 2015
MAYOR’S LETTER TO RESIDENTS
Dear Residents and Ratepayers
You will now be aware the whole process of local government reform has been put on hold indefinitely.
I would like to thank those residents who supported the City’s efforts through the City’s Back Belmont campaigns by lodging a submission to the Local Government Advisory Board calling on the State Government to hold a poll on reform.
The City of Belmont Council unanimously voted to formally withdraw from the Perth Metropolitan Local Government Reform Process at a Special Council Meeting held on 17 February and the final Local Implementation Committee Meeting was held on 18 February.
The City and representatives from the Shire of Kalamunda have met with Local Government Minister Tony Simpson to advise him that both organisations wished to formally withdraw from the process. The Minister accepted the information and Governor’s Orders have now been rescinded.
As a result, the merger between the City of Belmont and the Shire of Kalamunda will no longer go ahead.
Our Council consistently opposed forced amalgamation. The City’s proposal for a boundary change was submitted as it was the only way to protect the interest of the community as the Shire of Kalamunda refused to consider equal representation, which would have resulted in the City’s interests being compromised.
I am glad the uncertainty caused by the threat of amalgamations and boundary changes is at an end. While neither of our respective Councils supported the forced merger of the two Local Government areas, we both gained a good understanding and healthy respect for each other.
The City of Belmont estimates that since October 2013 approximately $307,000 has been spent on the local government reform process, of which $100,000 has been funded by the State Government through its initial funding program, which makes the total cost $207,000. This figure includes staff ($165,000), communication ($46,000), and consultants and legal advice ($96,000).
Our costs were substantially lower when compared to other local governments including several with costs totalling more than $1 million. This low figure reflects the responsible approach the City adopted to carefully manage costs associated with reform to have the least impact on our ratepayers.
The City will seek reimbursement from the State Government for these outstanding costs.
It is essential the State Government now work collaboratively with Local Government to standardise and simplify the planning processes. This does not just require removing local governance from the communities, but should include refinement of State processes.
Now this chapter of reform has come to a close, we can continue to focus on delivering the best outcomes for our community.