SHOALHAVEN councillor Andrew Guile has hit back at a suggestion by Mayor Joanna Gash that he had plucked numbers out of the air when warning about the costs involved in any merger with Kiama Council.
“Where does he get this information? There has been no research,” Cr Gash said, accusing Cr Guile of scaremongering.
Returning fire, Cr Guile said Cr Gash was attempting to “duck accountability for a proposal that would cost us dearly”.
“I have confirmed the average residential rates for each local government area,” he said.
“The fact is that the average residential rate for Shoalhaven is $779 and the average for Kiama is $1207 – a difference of $428 in real terms or 55 per cent.
“These are real numbers that represent a substantial difference in rating structure that would need to be reconciled in any merger.
“At the January 28 meeting of council, I’ll be moving that Shoalhaven oppose any attempt at merging with Kiama and that there would be no further extraordinary increases during the term of the current council.
“It is time that our leadership was up front about plans for taxing local families and businesses,” he said.