Council rejects merger proposal

Council building

A potential merger proposal with Banyule City Council is off the table after the motion was rejected at last night’s Council meeting.

A Notion of Motion was presented requesting Council write to Banyule City Council to seek its support to jointly fund an assessment of the financial, organisational, policy and political opportunities of a voluntary merger of the two municipalities.

If supported, the assessment would have been followed up with community consultation and a resident vote. A supporting statement stated it was a timely to review opportunities that mergers of communities of interest would create.

“There are potential cost savings in management, IT and cost of doing business and supplying services as municipalities which would need to be measured while delivering the same or improved services. Both councils currently share library and animal welfare services,” the statement outlined.

“The financial outcomes would need to ensure that all ratepayers are advantaged with no one paying more and a target of rate reductions for all with improved services and access to community facilities.”

Cr John Dumaresq categorised the proposal as a “thought bubble” and apologised to local residents for the stress the merger proposal had caused.

Cr Jane Ashton said she and Mayor Karen Egan recently presented to the VEC panel and argued very strongly against the merger based on community feedback and its geographic areas and Cr Peter Perkins said the whole episode had been damaging for both councils.

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