Young Shire’s new council is ready to hit the ground running now they’ve appointed Stuart Freudenstein as their mayor and Ben Cooper as deputy mayor.
The four re-elected councillors and five new councillors met for their first extra-ordinary meeting in the Council Chambers at Town Hall on Wednesday evening.
First order of business was the mayoral election. Close behind that was the decision to start meeting monthly from next week.
There were two nominations for the mayoral seat which saw Cr Freudenstein win by a simple majority vote ahead of Cr John Walker.
Cr Walker was also nominated for deputy mayor as was Cr Ben Cooper. Cr Cooper was named deputy mayor by a simple majority vote.
In his acceptance speech Cr Freudenstein said he is “really looking forward to keeping Young going and progressing forward”.
“You don’t need a crystal ball to see there are challenges ahead and local government reform is just one of them,” he said.
“I’m sure we’ll do things well to keep Young going,” Cr Freudenstein added.
Some of the issues Cr Freudenstein is looking to tackle over the next 12 months include the Community Strategic Plan which is about consulting the community on what their priorities and plans are and putting it together in council’s management, financial, social and 10-year plans.
“I really believe the community will get more out of it as the years go by – it’s so important for them. It’s a planned approach to getting things done with community input,” Cr Freudenstein said.
“I’m also pretty keen on reinstating the Blayney-Demondrille rail line which is still heading along nicely,” he said.
“There’s also a review panel that’s looking at local government reform which will be impacting on councils around the state, and sharing more resources with our neighbouring councils and maintaining and building on our excellent relationships.”
“Hopefully there won’t be any natural disasters for a while so we can get to work with what needs to be done and won’t be reacting to these disasters,” Cr Freudenstein added.
Cr Cooper said he was very proud to be part of the new council and that they have a fantastic team with a lot of energy.
And how does he feel about his meteoric rise to deputy mayor?
“I am absolutely stoked and honoured to have been elected as deputy mayor - there is a great team on council and I look forward to working with them to advance our shire,” Cr Cooper said.
“It is great that people had the faith in me to be on council and I will work hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for our community,” he added.
Cr Cooper said it is great to be able to represent a different part of the community and, “as a teacher, I want to bring youth issues firmly onto the agenda”.
“I will be very busy juggling school work and councillor duties but I look forward to the challenge. Luckily I have a great group of colleagues at the Young High School who have been very supportive and helpful,” Cr Cooper said.
“I love my teaching and remain very committed to everything I do at the high school and will also work my guts out for our shire,” he said.
“Students are even starting to get interested in council and asking me what it’s all about,” Cr Cooper added.
Among appointing our mayor and deputy mayor, councillors also decided their monthly meetings will continue to be the third Wednesday of every month at 5pm, with Cr Tony Wallace requesting one of the meetings this year be held in Murringo.
Councillors agreed the March meeting on Wednesday, March 20, will be held in Murringo.
They also agreed to get straight to work and hold their first monthly meeting next Wednesday, September 26, at the Town Hall at 5pm, following two training sessions. One session was held yesterdayfocusing on using their iPads and another will be held tomorrow at 4.30pm looking at meeting procedures.
Their induction process will include looking at policies, the Community Strategic Plan, a tour of the shire and their assets, such as the Town Hall.
Young Shire Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko welcomed all the councillors aboard and said his directors and himself are very keen to work with them and help prepare them so the experience is not too overwhelming.
“It’s an opportunity to continue a chapter of history in this wonderful council,” Mr Vlatko said.