For those who have still not made up their mind about which way to vote in Saturday's council elections, we've prepared a wrap of the coverage Australian Community Media's editorial team has been working on over the last month.
We've taken a closer look at this tier of government, how it works, the challenges, the people who step into the role of an elected representative on council, the community expectations and more.
Remember your vote counts so make it an informed one.
The would-be councillors vying for a seat on Saturday are no doubt brimming with ideas and a strong desire to serve their local communities.
But as the newly elected councillors take their seats around the table for the first time, in what state of repair will they find this third tier of government? More here.
The need for so many tiers of government in Australia has been a question raised by many. Is it necessary to have federal, state and local government?
The suspension of the councillors in Wingecarribee in the Southern Highlands has put a spotlight on this question. More here.
When the general manager of Armidale Regional Council, James Roncon, addressed a community group in the New England city recently he painted a concerning picture.
Mr Roncon has been the GM at the council in the NSW northern tablelands since the beginning of the year. When he arrived, councillors had already been suspended for six months in 2020 following infighting, and several attempts by some councillors to sack the previous general manager.
Twelve years ago, the doors opened to possibly one of the best regional entertainment centres in New South Wales.
However, it was a project that has divided council and the community over the years. Read more.
Bruce Miller has given more than three decades of service as a mayor and councillor in his NSW central west home town of Cowra.
As he prepares to retire, he looks back on how local government has changed over time, and the challenges facing the new councillors who will take their seats following the December 4 election. More here.
Prior to the close of nominations for the December 4 NSW Local Government elections, minister Shelley Hancock called for an increase in candidates from diverse backgrounds.
While we've come a long way since the days when your typical councillor was a middle-aged business man, we still have a way to go in the areas of gender, background and age.
We ran some numbers in these categories to see the make up of our councils across NSW. More here.
Cassandra Coleman has served for five years on Lithgow City Council, but the trailblazing politician still isn't sure why only 32 per cent of serving councillors in NSW are women.
"We should be at 50 per cent but we're not, and we've got a long way to go," said Cr Coleman, who is also President of the Australian Local Government Women's Association in NSW.
Cr Coleman believes barriers remain for women choosing to stand as candidates. More here.
For most 21-year-olds busy with study, career and socialising, pursuing a seat on local council is probably not on the 'to do' list.
But Ethan Francis is no ordinary 21-year-old.
He will be running for Port Macquarie Hastings council on December 4.
He says what he lacks in years is made up for by the breadth of his vision for his coastal hometown. More here.
In 2012, a young Alf Walker noticed his local council in the NSW Southern Tablelands was lacking in young people, councillors from lower socio-economic backgrounds and indigenous representatives.
His next thought was that he was all three of those things.
At the age of 26, he became the first Aboriginal person elected to Goulburn Mulwaree Council, and also one of the youngest ever to serve. More here.
The relationship between council staff and elected officials is often delicately balanced, and can make or break a local council.
A good relationship is often the key to good governance, while a rocky relationship and a lack of respect can lead to the demise of a council, with general managers and councillors often resigning.
Suspended Wingecarribee Shire councillor and former council staff member Peter Nelson said it was the council staff that were the nuts and bolts of the organisation. More here.
'Don't feed the trolls' is a common piece of advice to people about not engaging with haters online. But this is sometimes easier said than done.
Social media trolling was not something veteran Paul Maytom had to contend with when he entered local politics 30 years ago.
"There are people out there with malice in them and it gives them the avenue to spread the negative complaints", he said. More here.
New laws enacted on November 1 are aimed at ensuring the residents of NSW can exercise their right to vote in a COVID safe manner and to prevent election day from turning into a super spreader event. More here.
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