Parramatta Council demands $24 million from Hornsby Shire Council

Tough start: Hornsby mayor Philip Ruddock will lead his first council meeting this week. Picture: Geoff Jones

Tough start: Hornsby mayor Philip Ruddock will lead his first council meeting this week. Picture: Geoff Jones

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. It follows “fruitless” discussions between the councils. 

Around 15,000 Carlingford, Beecroft and Epping residents were transferred from Hornsby to Parramatta in May 2016. Since then, Parramatta has instigated the Epping Planning Review and detailed traffic study and spent $400,000 on upgrading and reopening Epping Pool, despite Hornsby not passing on the revenue. Benefits former Hornsby LGA residents are missing out on include an additional $100 pensioner rebate and a $30 fee reduction for Parramatta’s new waste collection service.

“We’ve been talking to Hornsby and ‘very difficult to pin down’ is the best way to describe them,” Mr Dyer told the chamber.

Hornsby has “wilfully and illegally ignored” the proclamation of new boundaries, according to Cr Tyrrell.

“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 Tyrrell called on Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton to intervene in the matter and “stop the continued embarrassment towards the state government.”

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,” she said.

Mr Ruddock acknowledged the money owed but said a number of issues need to be finalised first. 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 state government still hasn’t made a clear decision on whether or not that area will be returned to Hornsby shire,” Mr Ruddock said. “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.”

Cr Tyrrell had this message for residents: “This is our fight with Hornsby Council, not yours, all you have to do is keep moving on with life.”

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