Cost of Amalgamation
Friday 3 September 2021
Inner West Council is asking the community for feedback on an independent de-amalgamation cost benefit report.
Recently, the NSW Parliament passed legislation that made it possible for Councils to put forward a business case for de-amalgamation. It remains at the discretion of the Local Government Minister whether to de-amalgamate councils.
At the Local Government elections on 4 December 2021, Inner West citizens will be asked whether to support separating the one Inner West Council into the three original councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.
To assist in informing the community Council commissioned an independent report from consultants Morrison Low about the cost and benefits of de-amalgamation
Morrison Low is the same consultant who prepared the previous case for the former councils against amalgamations.
MERGER IMPLEMENTATION COSTS
The Inner West Council was formed by the amalgamation of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils on 12 May 2016.
Tim Morrison and Low was engaged to examine the costs of the Merger and they estimated a cost of $44.5m.***
The merged council received $10million towards implementing the amalgamation and permitted to make claims for
- the Provision of expert implementation advice
- ICT systems Integration
- Redundancy Payments to staff
- Signage for the new council
- Change management programs
- Cost of System Upgrades
At 30 September 2017 the total expenditure was $6,826,000 and the estimated cost to complete the amalgamation was $3,575,000 putting the total cost at $10,401,000.
***Inner West Councils Fit for the Future - Shared Modelling - Tim Morrison and Low
"The Independent Review Panel recommended a merger of Ashfield, Burwood, City of Canada Bay, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Strathfield Councils. The government has asked each council in NSW to respond to Fit for the Future by using the Panel recommendation as a starting point."
Inner West Council spends $9.4m on IT contracts, but says no tender was needed
Harmonisation of Policies as of 14 December 2020
- 43 Inner West Policies https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/policies-plans-and-regulations/policies
- 33 Leichhardt Policies https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/policies-plans-and-regulations/policies/leichhardt-council-policies/policies-a-to-z-leichhardt
- 60 Ashfield Policies https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/policies-plans-and-regulations/policies/ashfield-council-policies/policies-a-to-z-ashfield
- 35 Marrickville Policies https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/policies-plans-and-regulations/policies/marrickville-council-policies/policies-a-to-z-marrickville
10 November 2020 Minutes
"C1120(1) Items 1 and 14 Harmonisation of Rates
1. Notes that the NSW Government is requiring all amalgamated councils to harmonise rates by an arbitrary date (1 July 2021). This is despite the fact that the harmonisation of rates and services is a difficult process for a council that is the amalgam of 3;
2. Has commenced harmonising other charges and is in the process of harmonising service standards across the LGA. To compel the Inner West Council to harmonise rates prior to further progress on the harmonisation of services will lead to anomalies;
3. Has been calling on the NSW Government to allow us to transition to its final preferred rating structure over a number of years, acting to ‘smooth out’ the negative impacts to ratepayers and to align it with our service sat and harmonisation;
4. Understand that the Minister is working on this and a bill may be brought to parliament later this year. Given the Council wants to introduce a minimum rate we are advised we must submit to IPART requires us to submit a Minimum Rate Application by 8 February 2021. With this timetable we will not have time properly engage in community consultation;
5. Note that the Minister has said that the NSW Government remains committed to assisting each new council to identify a path to undertake rating harmonisation that is appropriate to the needs of different local communities. This includes allowing each council to equalise rates gradually over time across their local government area;
6. Call on the Minister to show her commitment to assist and urgently intervene to allow the Inner West Council a transitional arrangement;
7. Place on public exhibition the Proposed Rating Structure (categories, sub-categories) as recommended in the report for community engagement;
8. Place on public exhibition the new Minimum Rates as recommended in the report, for community engagement;
9. Place on public exhibition reallocation of Ashfield Mall, Leichhardt Marketplace and Norton Street Plaza from Business General to Business Malls and the redistribution of rates income from Business General to Business Malls as recommended in the report, for community engagement;
10. Commences community consultation on the proposed rating structure including examples for each of the three former local government areas that shows the increase or decrease in rates for the lowest rates, middle rates and highest rates of each category eg Marrickville lowest rate was $700.00 would now be $720.00 etc; and
11. Staff report to Council on progress at all following Council meetings until iPart deadline of 1 April 2021.
For Motion: Crs Byrne, Da Cruz, Drury, Hesse, Iskandar, Kiat, Lockie, Macri, McKenna OAM, Porteous, Raciti, Steer and York
Against Motion: Crs Passas and Stamolis
Amendment (Steer/Da Cruz)
THAT the plan be amended to place on exhibition a minimum rate of $710.
For Motion: Crs Da Cruz, Iskandar, Passas, Stamolis and Steer
Against Motion: Crs Byrne, Drury, Hesse, Kiat, Lockie, Macri, McKenna OAM, Porteous, Raciti and York
Foreshadowed Motion (Stamolis/Passas)
THAT Council defer this item until:
1. A fully amended data report is provided;
2. Broader data comparisons across the three previous Councils are provided;
3. Comparisons with nearby Councils are provided; and
4. A broader analysis of the impact on ratepayers of adjusting the minimum rate to $850.
This Foreshadowed Motion lapsed.
Report to Council 8 December 2020: "The rates harmonisation community
engagement will commence in early December and run through to Sunday 7 February
2021. Promotion includes a flyer to be mailed to all ratepayers, a
project page on Your Say Inner West including fact sheets and translated
material in top five community languages, and inclusion in all Council
communication channels. Ratepayers will be able to access specific
information about the impact of the new minimum rate on their property through
a rates calculator on our website." - Report to Council Meeting 8 December 2020" Agenda 8 December 2020 https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2020/12/C_08122020_AGN_3761_AT_WEB.htm