ORANGE looks likely to elect its own mayor in 2016 with voters answering Saturday’s popularly-elected mayor referendum with a resounding yes.
Although counting is continuing, so far almost 63 per cent of voters said yes to choosing their own mayor.
If the system was already in place councillor Reg Kidd would have taken the top job easily, scoring 11.98 per cent of the first preference vote - making him by far the most popular candidate and building on his votes from 2008.
Despite his overwhelming popularity, Cr Kidd says this term on council will be his last, with his time on council set to reach 25 years by the next election.
“I’m very, very pleased for my family,” he said.
“My mum’s over the moon.
“It just shows you can run by yourself, not caught up with any factions or parties or tickets. I hope it gives people the courage to stand on their own.”
With Russell Turner and John Davis expected to dominate the council, bringing on six or possibly more councillors between them, Cr Kidd said he hoped politics was kept out of the chamber.
“I would hope Russell sticks to his word that his people are individuals,” he said.
“I don’t want to see it politicised and factionalised.”
Mr Turner said he was surprised at the referendum result and still felt councillors had a better idea of who had the ability to be mayor.
He would not rule out a bid for the mayor’s chair but said he would talk to the current mayor and new councillors before he made a decision.
“I didn’t think it would get up,” he said.
“I voted no and I didn’t hear anyone who voted yes. If you get the wrong mayor ... you’re stuck with him or her for four years. We don’t elect the premier of NSW or the prime minister.”
Cr Kidd said he would welcome another stint in the mayor’s chair but was happy to leave the decision up to his fellow councillors.
“It’s not the most important job, the most important job is being a councillor,” he said.
“Council is about all the councillors, it’s not about one person.”