WITH cost and time major hurdles, it is doubtful Bega Valley Shire will have a popularly elected mayor anytime soon.
Deputy Mayor Liz Seckold brought up the issue as a question on notice at the last BVSC meeting, requesting figures for the cost of conducting a poll in conjunction with the NSW Government election next March.
Staff have reported back that due to legal and operational issues concerning different statutory processes and electoral rolls, a constitutional referendum on the mayor being elected by the electors cannot be held with the NSW Government election.
According to the NSW Electoral Commission, it leaves two options.
It could either be held separately - which would cost ratepayers over $150,000 - or the poll could be tagged onto the next BVSC election in 2016, which could cost approximately $20,000 to $30,000.
The additional costs would cover things like advertising, presentation of “for” and “against” cases, printing and counting of extra ballot papers.
If returned in the affirmative, the 2020 local government election would feature an election for the mayor separate to the councillor elections.
The mayor and deputy mayor position are currently voted on annually by the shire’s nine councillors.
It’s not the first time the issue has been raised, with former councillor David Hede asking for a report into the process in 2008.
After the cost estimate came back the idea was dropped.
Would you like to see a popularly elected mayor by 2020? Have your say by commenting below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.