A costly by-election will be avoided if a councillor position becomes vacant within 18 months of the December 2021 local government election.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has declared that councillor vacancies occurring within 18 months of the December 4, 2021 election are to be filled by a countback of votes cast at that election.
The countback system, which is available to NSW councils for the first time, allows councils to use a countback to fill vacancies at a lower cost than the expense of a by-election.
A report to the January extraordinary council meeting said it was expected a by-election as a result of not using a countback election could cost in the vicinity of $500,000.
The report said under the countback system, the returning officer contacts all unelected candidates from the local government election who may still qualify to be elected as a councillor.
Interested candidates must submit a formal application to the returning officer. All candidates, who submit and do not withdraw their application, become eligible candidates.
Cr Lisa Intemann said a countback, if there was a vacancy in the first 18 months, was a most sensible move and would be big cost saving to the community and council.
The vote was unanimous to support the countback option.
Council's chief executive officer Dr Clare Allen will notify the NSW Electoral Commission of the council's decision.
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