Whitton up for the challenge: Davis has challenger for mayor's seat

PICK ME: Councillor Jeff Whitton.

PICK ME: Councillor Jeff Whitton.

MAYOR John Davis will vie for a 12th year in Orange City Council’s top job in two weeks’ time, but he will have at least one challenger.

Councillor Jeff Whitton said he would put his hand up for the mayoral role when councillors meet on September 9 to consolidate the infrastructure projects built in recent years.

“It’s about focusing on the smaller things, the things the community expects from a council, which is roads, footpaths and rubbish,” he said.

“I’m not saying we’ve lost our way with those basics, just to sit back and capitalise on those projects  and getting the small things right.

“A lot of the community struggles to understand why we’re one of the highest rating cities in Australia - I suppose it’s about focusing on trying to pull back on those outgoings and give them back value for money.”

Cr Whitton said Cr Davis had done a fantastic job.

“This is not about anything that John has or hasn’t done - it’s something I want to do and something I feel is the right time,” he said.

Cr Whitton believed creating jobs was also a priority for council moving forward.

While many of the projects Cr Davis championed in the past have come to fruition, he said there was always more to do.

“The current one is the museum, but something’s got to happen with the showground,” he said.

“The percentage of young people we have is extraordinary for a rural-regional city.

“That will challenge the council over the next five to 10 years because we’ve got to make sure there’s amenities for them.”

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Meanwhile, deputy mayor Chris Gryllis said he would again run for second in command, while past candidate Scott Munro said he would also put his hand up.

“You don’t change the world in 12 months, but we have achieved lots of things, there’s no question about that - it’s a team effort,” Cr Gryllis said. 

Cr Munro believed he had learned from mentors Cr Davis and councillor Russell Turner and, as a National, he could play a role in securing government funding.

“I think politics shouldn’t come into local government, but I think it helps being a National in a National Party seat,” he said.

Councillor Jason Hamling is rumoured to be interested in the deputy mayoral role, however he said he was still undecided, while Cr Turner, a past mayoral candidate, said he had also yet to consider whether he would run - councillor Kevin Duffy said he would not rule out taking an opportunity if it came. 

Councillor Reg Kidd, who has served one term as mayor and also nominated last year, could not be contacted for comment.

The vote for the mayoral and deputy mayoral positions will take place on September 9 at the Orange City Council chambers from 7pm.

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