BELLINGEN Shire has a new mayor after independent and first-time nominee Steve Allan was elected.
Set to assume office officially on January 25 at a ceremony during the first council meeting of the year, the incoming mayor is keen to steer the council back to what he says are the fundamentals of local government.
The six Bellingen Shire councillors are Stephen Glyde, Dominic King, Jennie Fenton, Joanne Cook, Jo Brotherton and Ellie Tree.
"I want to return Bellingen Shire Council to the core purpose that local governments were created for and have always done," he said.
"We will ensure our roads, bridges and key infrastructure remain in fine working order and funnel resources into the important projects that the people of Bellingen expect and deserve.
"I also want to improve communication between the community and council, so people can better contact us with concerns, and increase transparency around our decisions."
Mr Allan said he was pleasantly surprised by the voter support, and says there is no doubt in his mind that a large number of people in the community shared his desire for change in the Shire.
"I'm certainly thrilled and humbled by the size of the vote we received, but in some ways it wasn't overly surprising," he said.
"I could see party politics sneaking into our Shire and I don't think local government is the place for that, which is why I ran as an independent.
"A lot of the people we have been talking to out in the community agreed and were also concerned about the growing presence of party politics at a local government level."
Thanks to everyone who has supported us; we will hit the ground running in the new year and do our absolute best to get you value for money for every dollar of rate payers' money.- Steve Allan
For decades, Mr Allan has been a trusted and staunch member of the Mid North Coast community, he was a well-respected pharmacist in Urunga for 27 years before selling the business.
He has also been president of the Urunga/Mylestom Chamber of Commerce for the last 18 years and is a board member of the Neighbourhood Centres of Bellingen Shire.
"This is my first time as mayor, and I'm expecting there will be a bit of a learning curve but I have the time and experience to commit to the role," Mr Allan said.
"I'm no longer working full time, I have an extensive background in business management and financials and I have a great team around me.
"Thanks to everyone who has supported us; we will hit the ground running in the new year and do our absolute best to get you value for money for every dollar of ratepayers' money."
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