Lockhart’s forced merger with Urana and Corowa has fired up councillors.
Cr Jim Morgan believes a resolution to merge with Urana “at the hands of the state government” was a slippery slope to make it also join with Corowa.
Lockhart made very public its intention to remain a standalone council, but councillors later voted six-two in favour to merge with Urana in November.
Mayor Peter Yates said at the time it was a “sensible solution” as there was no rural council model, which would open the shire up as an immediate amalgamation target.
Cr Morgan, who voted against the merge with Urana, has partly blamed the “illogical” amalgamation with Corowa on the resolution.
“I feel once Urana merged with Corowa, we should have been afforded the other option that was to stand alone as a rural council, like Coolamon,” Cr Morgan said.
“Council is now going around huffing and puffing with the decision. I believe council has to take a little bit of blame for this.”
Cr Morgan hit out at the proposed merge with Corowa, as people living at The Rock would have to travel through the Greater Hume to even get to the other end of their new shire.
“We’ve got no similarities with Corowa,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister has accused the state government of “preordaining” all council mergers.
Gundagai has long made clear its intention to remain a standalone council, but it was announced on Friday it would merge with Cootamundra under the Fit For the Future reforms.
“Our first response was total disappointment,” Cr McAlister said.
“They just totally shot us in the foot. I’m sure they had it all pre-planned.”
Cootamundra and Harden were both willing to merge with one another, but the state government overruled and grouped Harden with Young and Boorowa.
Cr McAlister said the merger decisions showed total disregard to extensive community consultation. Cr McAlister demanded proof that the forced merger would bring about any savings to council or ratepayers.
Councils have until January 16 to make submissions on the proposed mergers.