TWO months after resigning as a councillor and bowing out of the mayoral race, New Norfolk's Paul Belcher has today announced that he will stand for re-election at next month's Derwent Valley Council election and hoped also to be elected as mayor.
Elected to the council October 2014, Mr Belcher resigned in July due to his concerns that a new employment opportunity could present a conflict of interest with his council role. He had spent the previous eight months campaigning to be elected mayor.
"I recently resigned as an elected member of the Derwent Valley Council due to an employment opportunity in a development bringing new investment to the municipality," Mr Belcher said in a statement this afternoon. "This was a difficult decision following nearly four years as a councillor, and after months of campaigning for election as mayor. I felt that this new job would present a conflict of interest with my role on council but it now appears that will not be the case."
Mr Belcher said he had been reconsidering his position after receiving many requests to re-enter the mayoral contest. "Having greatly missed working for the ratepayers and residents of the Derwent Valley in the last few months, I have decided that I will renominate for election as a councillor and mayor of the Derwent Valley.
"Sitting on the outside looking in over the last two months, I have also noticed that many of the intending candidates for next month’s election are not concentrating on the 3Rs – the issues of roads, rates and rubbish that are of concern to us all," he said.
Nominations for candidates in next month's election have opened today and will close at noon on September 25. The names of all candidates are expected to be announced the next day. Meanwhile, anyone who is unsure of their eligibility to vote in the election has until this Thursday, September 13, to check with the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.
Mr Belcher's return to the campaign brings to four the number of people known to be intending to nominate for the position of mayor. The others are sitting councillors Julie Triffett and Ben Shaw, and former councillor Chris Lester. Mayor Martyn Evans has indicated he will nominate for the position of deputy mayor, along with Rachel Power, Wayne Shoobridge and Cr Frank Pearce who have stated their intention to contest that role.
Mr Belcher said he felt that most candidates so far were not focusing on the issues of most concern to the ratepayers and residents of the Derwent Valley, which he said were roads, rates and rubbish.
"Rubbish is a big issue, with multiple reports of illegal dumping throughout the municipality each month since the tip fees were increased in the most recent council budget," he said. "My vision for the tip would be one voucher per visit, free green waste, free metals, and also allowing wrecked cars back to the tip. I will continue to push for a free hard-waste collection day, which unfortunately was not included in this year’s budget despite the significant rate rise.
"I am very passionate about the Derwent Valley. I was born and raised and still live here. I hope that I can get the support of the ratepayers and residents because I will continue to have their best interests at heart just as I have in the past the past," he said.
All candidates for election to the Derwent Valley Council are invited to submit a statement and photo for publication in the New Norfolk News by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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