UPDATE: Rocky's $5.4M bid 'not about the money' says Ludwig
LIVINGSTONE Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig says there is still a large body of work to be completed before Livingstone can consider a formal offer from Rockhampton to buy three neighbouring suburbs.
He was responding to a $5.4 million bid from Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow made public yesterday morning to transfer Glenlee, Rockyview and Glendale from Livingstone to Rockhampton via a boundary change.
He "reconfirmed" that formal discussions on boundary matters can only take place once Livingstone had completed detailed impact assessments and comprehensive modelling in relation to long-term financial sustainability.
"It's not about the money," he said while adding he had been surprised by the offer and Cr Strelow's claim that formal discussions had begun.
"It's not helpful to try and stampede the process. We need to get the best outcome. Any change of this nature will have impacts for generations to come.
"Further community consultation on the matter will need to be undertaken prior to any agreed position being reached or formally put forward to the State Government for consideration.
"This substantive body of work is underway and likely to be completed by March next year."
INITIAL: ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council has tabled a $5.4million bid to buy three communities off Livingstone Shire Council.
In hopes of taking the suburbs of Glenlee, Rockyview and Glendale back into the Rockhampton Council fold, Rockhampton region Mayor Margaret Strelow has started formal discussions with Livingstone Shire Council.
Cr Strelow says that in the interest of regional harmony, Rockhampton Regional Council is prepared to contribute three years of general rates, which totals about $5.4M, to Livingstone Shire Council for the boundary realignment.
"Residents in the Glenlee, Rockyview and Glendale have repeatedly flagged a strong desire to return to Rockhampton so we are keen to see an outcome put forward to the Change Commissioner for review well ahead of the 2020 election," Cr Strelow said.
"In a November 2014 poll, residents in these areas voted overwhelmingly to return to Rockhampton.
"I am happy to assist Cr Ludwig with his promise at the time to allow these residents to return should they wish to, and they have clearly chosen to.
"Cyclone Marcia was an impediment to achieving this prior to the 2016 local government election, however, there is no reason now to impede a 2020 changeover date.
"Even though normally you don't buy communities, this is a community that naturally relates to Rockhampton and we are already providing their services."
The proposal to pay three years of general rates half yearly is similar to when Parkhurst transferred to the then Rockhampton City Council in 1985.
Cr Strelow said based on Livingstone's 2014 rates, it would equate to approximately $1.8million per year for three years.
"We would gain an additional 1,170 properties who already use our services that general rates covers such as libraries, road networks and general community events," she said.
"As both Councils are currently working on long term financial plans, we want to confirm that our offer would be accepted to enable both Councils to plan for the future."