Ballina to vote on councillor numbers

BALLINA Shire residents will get the opportunity at the September 13 local government election to vote on whether they want seven or 10 councillors to represent them after 2012.

Traditionally the Shire has had nine councillors - three from each ward, with the mayor elected from within those nine councillors.

However voters at the 2004 local government elections voted by a referendum to have the mayor elected by the public, meaning 10 councillors will now be elected at the September 13 elections.

These will be three from each ward, plus the popularly-elected mayor.

With this increase from nine to 10 councillors, the council has now resolved to hold a constitutional referendum as part of the 2008 election on the number of councillors elected.

Fred Goodman, president of the Lennox Head Residents' Association, does not see much value in reducing the number of councillors.

“Personally, I feel it would be better to have more representatives from different aspects of the community,” he said.

The question being asked is: 'Currently, Ballina Shire Council has 10 councillors (three from each of three wards, plus the mayor). Do you favour the reduction of councillors to seven (two from each of three wards, plus the mayor)?'

If the majority of votes cast support the proposal, a total of seven councillors would be elected at the next local government election, scheduled for 2012.

The referendum question will have no impact on the outcome of the 2008 election.



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