Debt paid be­fore merger

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Quick News - Jon Bas­sett

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.

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