Update November 2015
On Tuesday 17 November our council resolved to stand alone and submit the following response to the State Government:
"Ku-ring-gai Council strongly opposes any proposal for it to amalgamate with Hornsby or any other council.
Ku-ring-gai, a highly performing council that fully discharges its functions under the Local Government Act, exceeding the IPART financial benchmarks, is already large by national and international standards.
Its community overwhelmingly opposes amalgamation".
This decision follows a comprehensive review of our services, finances and infrastructure which clearly demonstrates that Ku-ring-gai residents will be worse off if we merge with Hornsby Council. Key reasons include:
Higher rates - Ku-ring-gai residents will pay an average of $150 a year more in rates.
Less representation - 9 councillors would represent the Hornsby area and 6 councillors would represent Ku-ring-gai.
More development - Hornsby’s planning controls allow for 23 storey buildings in their CBD and town centres. This is compared to Ku-ring-gai's average of 5-7 storeys (except for along rail way line which allows 13 storeys).
View Tuesday 17 November Council's resolution here
Update October 2015
Ku-ring-gai Council is confident that it meets all the state governments Fit for the Future benchmarks and should remain a standalone council.
To reach this position we undertook comprehensive research to determine the specific impacts of a merger with Hornsby Shire Council on the residents and ratepayers of Ku-ring-gai. The research indicated that we are strongly positioned to provide for our community in the future, and that a merger with Hornsby will be highly unfavourable for our residents and ratepayers.
Key reasons why Ku-ring-gai Council should remain stand alone
Ku-ring-gai Council at its meeting of 28 April unanimously voted to stand alone, for the following reasons:
• Ku-ring-gai Council is in a healthy financial position and provides high quality services and facilities.
• Ku-ring-gai Council already services one of the larger populated metropolitan areas in Sydney.
• The NSW Treasury Corporation rated Ku-ring-gai’s financial sustainability as being one of the 16 strongest out of 152 in the state.
• A merger would increase rates in Ku-ring-gai by between 5% and 17% and decrease them in Hornsby Shire due to land values being much higher in Ku-ring-gai.
• In a merged council, there will be a maximum of 15 councillors with representation for former council areas determined by the population size. In the case of a merger between Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby, 9 councillors would represent the Hornsby area and 6 councillors would represent Ku-ring-gai.
• Ku-ring-gai ratepayers would subsidise services in Hornsby, due to the higher rates.
• Hornsby Shire Council has a weaker financial position than Ku-ring-gai, as assessed by the NSW Treasury Corporation. A merger would weaken Ku-ring-gai Council’s financial position.
• A merger would expose Ku-ring-gai residents to financial risks related to a $50 million project to make the Hornsby quarry safe and useable for recreation.
• A merger would result in less say for Ku-ring-gai residents in decisions about how money is spent and in planning for the future development of the area.
• Councillor representation would significantly reduce in a merged council with the majority of councillors elected from Hornsby due to their larger population.
• The two areas are very different, with Ku-ring-gai being urban while the much larger Hornsby Shire has more rural land than residential and includes remote communities.
• Ku-ring-gai Council won the Bluett Award in 2014 - the highest award for excellence in NSW local government.
• Judged against the State Government's criteria, Ku-ring-gai Council will meet all Fit for the Future benchmarks.
View Council's submission to IPART
Council Resolution 23 June (pdf. 220KB) (pdf. 220KB)
Council Report 23 June (pdf. 239KB)
Council Improvement Proposal (pdf. 389KB)
Review of Council's Infrastructure Backlog and Asset Data, May 2015 (Morrison Low) (pdf. 606KB)
Fit for the future Community Engagement Output Report (pdf. 6MB)
View Council's submission to IPART Council Report 23 June
View IPART's report
Council Resolution 23 June
Council Improvement Proposal
Review of Council's Infrastructure Backlog and Asset Data, May 2015 (Morrison Low)
Fit for the Future Community Engagement Output Report