Tensions brewing between Perth's two inner-city councils have erupted, with City of Vincent mayor John Carey blasting the City of Perth over "secret" phone polling of residents.
Mr Carey has lashed out at the City of Perth after Vincent residents reported that they had been surveyed by Perth about the potential amalgamation of the two councils.
The City of Vincent was not informed of the poll.
Mr Carey said the City of Perth was using the survey as a "desperate" attempt to prevent merging with Vincent.
"This is a desperate and underhanded attempt to collect information to use in their case against an amalgamation," he said.
"This sort of polling can be skewed to get specific outcomes.
"We are disappointed and saddened Perth won't work constructively and positively with us and instead resort to this."
City of Perth chief executive Gary Stevenson confirmed the council paid an independent company $20,000 to conduct surveys of residents not just in Vincent, but also in parts of Crawley and Nedlands.
Mr Stevenson said the City was entitled to reach out to adjacent communities to better prepare itself to respond to the Local Government Advisory Board, which was tasked with making the final decision on council reform.
"I did not tell City of Vincent about the survey initially because it has been very actively engaging its community for months on an uncompromising 'one in-all in' proposition and I feared the survey would become a focus of media attention and commentary that might unduly influence the survey results," Mr Stevenson said.
Mr Carey said the City of Perth was afraid of having a bigger, stronger residential population.
He said that for many years Perth had enjoyed having a small population that could be dominated.
"I like Lisa (Scaffidi) but she is the Lord Mayor of a capital city and she gets voted in by less than 3000 people - that's extraordinarily low," he said.
Mr Carey got 5300 votes at the October local government elections.
Ms Scaffidi said she did not want to get drawn into "spurious" arguments and that voting numbers were "irrelevant" to the issue of council mergers.
The Lord Mayor has been vocal in her opposition of the Vincent/Perth merger, stating it did not make strategic sense and would lead to rate increases.
Relations between the two councils have been strained since the State Government's revised blueprint for metropolitan council mergers released last month proposed that the City of Vincent be entirely included into an enlarged City of Perth.
At the time, Ms Scaffidi accused the Government of "bowing down" to the wishes of Vincent to the detriment of Perth.