THE votes have been counted and Tamworth Regional Council’s newest batch of councillors have been declared.
The group of nine, including incumbent mayor Col Murray, deputy mayor Russell Webb, Warren Woodley, James Treloar, Helen Tickle and Juanita Wilson, will be joined by newcomers Tim Coates and Mark Rodda.
The poll will be officially declared at the Tamworth returning office in Peel St today at 9.30am and councillors will then run head-long into induction in the lead-up to the first scheduled council meeting in the new term, on Tuesday, September 25.
Mayoral and deputy mayoral ballots and the allocation of committee meetings are expected to take up the bulk of that meeting. Incumbent mayor Col Murray said yesterday the result of the election was pleasing.
He and Cr Webb confirmed to The Leader they intend to run for their respective leadership roles again.
Between them Crs Murray and Webb, who will return for their third terms, received more than 27 per cent of the 34,276 votes counted, something many consider a huge endorsement of their leadership.
Cr Murray said it was likely in the first few weeks of the new term the councill would revisit the strategic plan and the four-year development plan for the region.
“We will see if the newly elected councillors have anything they would like to add or change,” he said.
“That might lead to a bit of a massaging, but essentially we don’t see there will be any significant changes.”
Cr Webb said he looked forward to working with other councillors to continue what had been achieved in the previous term.
“It will be nice to have some fresh ideas brought in, too,” he said.
Cr Webb said he thought voters in Manilla and Barraba might be a bit disappointed that the two candidates based there failed to be elected.
“I think they would have really liked some local representation,” he said.
Councillor Phil Betts, who early on in the the polls believed he was on shaky ground, was very happy to have been re-elected yesterday.
“I’m humbled to have been re-elected,” he said.
Cr Betts said, looking forward, he would continue to work hard for the community.
“This term I plan to not only do the work but to get out and about more,” he said.
“I think the results of this election suggest voters want to know you’re not only doing the work behind the scenes, but are out on the ground putting in time, too.”
Despite recording more first-preference votes than Cr Betts – 1529 to 1410 – Barraba postman Danny Ballard missed out on a seat, once preferences were allocated.
Outgoing councillors Paul Durant and Ray Tait were disappointed they weren’t re-elected.
Mr Durant said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time on the council – more than 12 years, when you combine the time he sat on this and the former Tamworth City Council.
“One door closes and another door opens,” Mr Durant said.
“I am really thankful for my time on council. I really feel like I contributed over that time.”
He said he hoped someone else would continue to advocate for the elderly and disabled.
“That’s something I’ve done passionately and something I believe shouldn’t be shied away from, or put in the too-hard basket,” Mr Durant said.
He said he would hang up his local government hat and that he felt satisfied by what he had achieved for residents. “I will spend more time with my family now, and maybe go fishing,” he said.