VOTERS in Uralla will head back to the polling booths after ill health forced councillor Kevin Ward to resign.
Residents in Ward A will vote for a new candidate on election day, locked in for February 16, 2019.
Uralla Shire Council requested a 28 day extension on the usual three month election period to allow candidates to prepare over the Christmas period, general manager Andrew Hopkins said.
“We got a letter from the minister five minutes ago and the NSW Electoral Commission will undertake formalities,” he said.
“The more the merrier, we want people to get involve, participate and make decisions on behalf of the community.”
But, the byelection won’t come cheap, it’s expected to cost between $30,000 and $40,000 in an already stretched budget.
A Morrison Low forecast revealed Uralla Shire Council will run out of cash if substantial changes are not made to the unrestricted cash reserves.
The council voted against a 54.5 per cent Special Rate Variation in October, and has instead formed a budget and finance review committee to look at other options.
Costs will be covered with cuts to councillor meeting fees, councillor travel, the expected SRV consultation costs and $15,000 from the New England Joint Organisation membership fee.
Council’s can run their own byelections if they choose, but Mr Hopkins said Uralla does not have the resources.
“If you make a mistake in a key area the whole thing becomes void, so council has decided to use the commission instead,” he said.
- Nominations open January 7 and close January 16
- Pre-poll opens February 4 and close February 15
- Election day is February 16
- Return of postal votes close February 18
- Candidate expected to be declared February 20
“We are not having to pay for one councillor during that period so there’s some savings there, we had also anticipated with the potential SRV to have to do community consultation.”
Residents can sign up for a free Election Reminder Service to send SMS and email reminders to voters atelections.nsw.gov.au.