Former Deputy Mayor of the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) and mayoral candidate Katrina Mellick has conceded to Rod Marti who will be the new mayor of the TRC.
“I have just contacted Mr Marti to wish him well for his term as Mayor. “ Ms Mellick posted on Facebook last night
“Although the count hasn’t been declared formally by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, I think it is right that at this point I concede and allow the machinations to commence to ensure our Local Government can be up and running as soon as practicable.” she wrote.
“I would like to acknowledge all of the candidates for having the courage to put their hand up.”
At the time of printing, 69.67% of the votes had been counted with Mr Marti securing 47.78%, nearly equal to all of the other three mayoral nominees combined.
Katrina Mellick and Rod Marti were both considered front runners for the top job with both of them having served on the TRC previously.
The new council will be sworn on the 8th of April and Mr Marti believes that the council has a few urgent priorities
“There are three key things that we need to do at the council, one is reducing costs and making sure that we get our budget in order so that rates are affordable,” he said
“The second thing is that the new council needs to take control of the organisation as the council has been run by officers, the council I will lead will take control back,
“The third thing is we need to be fully engaged with the challenges facing us from Coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Mr Marti was reluctant to announce any emergency measures for local businesses or ratepayers in light of the current coronavirus crisis.
“People are struggling to pay rates now more than ever, many businesses have had to shut down and reduce their trading hours. Some people are doing it really tough at the moment”
“Rate deferrals will be discussed with the new council because it’s a whole new ball game, this is something none of us has ever had to face before.”
Mr Marti believes that the Tablelands Shire was in the mood for change due to several issues facing the TRC.
“Before coronavirus, council rates was the number one thing that people spoke to me about”
“People mentioned that they couldn’t afford to live here, people were closing down businesses, they were selling their properties, not just in one rates category but right across the board,” he said
This is Mr Martis second attempt at running for mayor, after narrowly missing out to Joe Parronella in 2016.
Previous to that Mr Marti was the Division 4 councillor from 2012 to 2016.
The final numbers for TRC Councillors aren’t expected to be announced for some time, due to low voter turnout, high numbers of pre-polling and postal votes and technical difficulties at the Electoral Commission of Queensland.