Debt paid before merger
COTTESLOE Council proposes to pay off about 80 per cent of its debt and build new beach toilets using $9.1 million from last year’s sale of its Nailsworth Street works depot, before mergers potentially threaten the windfall.
“The reorganisation and reduction of the Town’s debt should also reduce the pressure on rates income in both the medium and long term,” a staff report said.
Last week, councillors agreed on a 10-year, $13.5 million strategy partially funded by the windfall, starting with paying $ 4.318 million still owing on The Grove library, leaving $1.182 million owing from Sea View Golf Club and Civic Centre loans.
The strategy funds 16 projects including a $ 522,977 rebuild of Cottesloe Beach limestone retaining walls and a $2.345 million upgrade of toilets under the Indiana restaurant starting in 2015, while a $1.25 million spend on the town centre may prompt lobbying for revitalised lanes after Napoleon Street improvements.
There is also $1.036 million to restore John Black Dune Park, $357,500 for the Civic Centre’s Lesser Hall, $374,125 for beach carparks and $378,302 replacing beach paths, while the Cottesloe pylon gets $128,125 in 2016 and the proposed beach watchtower $315,188 in 2017.
However, Mayor Jo Dawkins said she expected council mergers to be announced mid- late this month, meaning only nine months of the strategy would be under her council’s direct control.
Mrs Dawkins said she did not want the strategy’s funds “swallowed up” by any postmerger council, and there was an expectation Cottesloe’s successor would continue the plan.
She said each project would come back to councillors for budgeting and the Government may be requested to fund work not in the strategy.
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said Local Implementation Committees created for mergers would make recommendations on old councils’ assets, contracts and chief executives.
“It will be up to the new local government to make its decision in the best interests of their ratepayers,” Mr Simpson said. Mr Simpson is expected to start analysing border recommendations this week.