"IT'S harder to get out than get in" quipped Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) mayor Col Murray after he learned his retirement would be put off by another three months when local government elections were postponed.
Cr Murray was set to retire after the vote originally scheduled for September 2020, signalling an end to his 11-year tenure as mayor and 17-year spell as a councillor.
But on Saturday, NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock revealed the vote would be pushed back from September, 4 to December, 4 as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
Of course, that is if they make it to the polls at all, with calls for online voting getting louder, including from Cr Murray.
While he said he has no problem with continuing in the role and tries to avoid worrying about things he has no control over, he did admit the elections probably couldn't be pushed back any further.
"I think there has been a strong push from local government for a number of years to progress the online voting," he said.
"And it's difficult to imagine in this day in age with the technology we have that we're not able to do an electronic vote.
"I'd imagine they'd be very reluctant to push it back any further, it'd be extremely disruptive because we'll have a federal election in the first quarter of next year so we wouldn't want to get confused with that."
Further up the Oxley Highway at Gunnedah Shire Council, mayor Jamie Chaffey said the delay could actually prove beneficial.
"There are still many things council are working on, there's some quite significant strategies that we're working on around our housing strategy, economic development strategy and open space strategy," he said.
"And hopefully in this time, these extra three months we can get these strategies locked away, endorsed so they're ready for action for the incoming council."
He said he was surprised by Saturday's announcement but thinks postponing the elections was the right decision to protect the safety of voters and councillors.
He also believes iVoting and more postal voting could be looked at if the COVID situation is still bad in December.
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