Council has squandered time to engage with the amalgamation process so that Willoughby would be well prepared when amalgamation became inevitable. Now it seems Council has less than a year to come to grips with the issue of amalgamation.
The State Government’s fundamental position on amalgamations has now changed. The Government is now leaving open the option that they will move away from their ‘No Forced Amalgamation’ position.
More importantly, the Government is offering cash incentives for Councils to amalgamate. Not just a one-off payment but also the promise of recurring funding. Potentially, this offer is worth megabucks to a Council.
Recently Council asked the General Manager to ‘find savings’. Council is again considering hefty rate increases.How can Willoughby Council justify to its ratepayers not at least progressing discussions with adjacent Councils with a view to amalgamating when one of the scarcest commodities a Council needs (cash) is on offer?