Parramatta Council has threatened to take legal action against Hornsby Council unless it receives more than $24 million in outstanding rates and levies.
An urgent motion by Parramatta councillor Bill Tyrrell was adopted on Monday night, which authorised general manager Greg Dyer to write to Hornsby with demands to pay up and provide all records within 14 days.
Around 15,000 Carlingford, Beecroft and Epping residents were transferred from Hornsby to Parramatta in May 2016. Cr Tyrrell said Hornsby has “wilfully and illegally ignored” the proclamation of new boundaries.
“In addition to retaining rate payments collected on behalf of Parramatta, Hornsby has declined repeated requests to provide council with the detailed information on the properties formerly in that shire,” he said.
Cr Lorraine Wearne suggested Parramatta make Pennant Hills Road the boundary and for Ku-ring-gai and The Hills councils take over the rest of Hornsby so newly elected mayor Philip Ruddock “can go back into retirement”. “This isn’t about the people, it’s about the money. The community does not want to go back to Hornsby,” Cr Wearne said.
Mr Ruddock acknowledged the money owed but said a number of issues need to be finalised. A meeting is scheduled between the mayors and general managers of both councils next week. Last night, Hornsby councillors considered a report seeking to endorse a boundary adjustment proposal. “The government has repeatedly stated that Hornsby shire’s residents will not be worse off because of the boundary adjustment and we call on the government to honour this commitment,” he said.
Epping MP Damien Tudehope questioned Hornsby’s estimates that it will lose $200 million in income over the next decade by losing Epping. “To my knowledge, this figure does not take into account the future revenue from development in Cherrybrook, which has been nominated as a priority precinct,” he recently wrote.
In a statement to the News, Mr Tudehope said the Epping town centre must remain under the one council and whatever council is responsible provide a timeline to replace Epping Pool and spend all section 94 revenue in Epping and not elsewhere. “My priority will be to ensure that whatever outcome eventuates, it will be in the best interests of the residents of Epping,” he said.