On Wednesday, October 19 a combined Hilltops Council Local Representative Committee (LRC) meeting was held to discuss the Hilltops Implementation Plan with Harden, Young and Boorowa representatives in attendance.
The plan provides a framework that will be followed in bringing together the new Hilltops Council over the first 12 months.
Hilltops Council Administrator, Wendy Tuckerman, said it was an important stage of the process.
“From Council’s perspective it was important the LRC’s had the opportunity to review the plan and provide additional input prior to it being made public,” Hilltops Council Administrator Wendy Tuckerman said.
Council’s general manager, Anthony McMahon, added that there has been work carried out behind the scene since the amalgamation was first began.
“Although the consolidated plan is now being finalised to be made public, staff have been working through actions contained within the plan since the amalgamation,” Mr McMahon said earlier this month.
A report is being prepared for the Wednesday, October 26 ordinary meeting of Council where it will be recommended the implementation plan be made public.
In parallel to the development of the Implementation Plan, Council staff have also prepared budget estimates that align with the tasks required to fully integrate Hilltops Council.
“We estimate the total cost of transition to be $6,447,900 which obviously exceeds the five million the NSW Government has allocated to Hilltops Council for transition,” Mr McMahon said.
According to Council’s Administrator the unfounded disparity between allocations to Metropolitan and Rural Council’s had already been highlighted to the Government.
“I have previously raised questions with the Local Government Minister in relation to why Regional Councils were allocated $5 million for transition in comparison to Metropolitan Councils that received $10 million,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“Now that we have an evidence base that the cost of merger is expected to be in excess of $5 million, Council will now be pursuing the matter further with the Government as we do not believe the community should be paying for the transition.”
Mr McMahon said a detailed breakdown of the cost estimate will not be made public due to a number of commercially sensitive components.
“As an example, the last thing we want to do is publicise what we expect to spend on a new Corporate IT system before we have received tenders for that system from the market,” he said.
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