The possible combining of Álftanes and Garðabær is a merger; not a takeover, says the mayor of Garðabær.
Álftanes is a small municipality which lies on the furthestmost point of the same peninsula that Garðabær occupies. While Álftanes is deeply in debt, Garðabær remains a financially stable community. As such, a combining of the two communities into one has been proposed. This October 20, a public referendum will be taken in which the residents will vote for or against the combination.
Garðabær mayor Gunnar Einarsson, a guest on yesterday’s Reykjavík Siðdegis radio show, emphasised that should the combining move forward, it should be considered a merger – not a takeover.
Gunnar pointed out that while the total debt of Álftanes equals some 1.8 billion ISK, the financial status of Garðabær residents would remain unchanged, as would available services. Furthermore, he predicts that in the long run, the merger will mean some 8 billion ISK in additional revenues for Garðabær.
Kópavogur town councilperson Ólafur Þór Gunnarsson, speaking to Grapevine last week, agrees.
“Garðabær will be getting 2,000 new taxpayers [if the merger occurs],” Ólafur said. “And considerable debt, but also new areas to develop and a relatively young tax base.”