ORANGE City Council meetings will head online and current councillors will be required to stay on an extra year after an announcement from the state government.
A bill was passed on Wednesday to amend several laws to combat the spread of COVID-19 while allowing essential functions to continue.
Among the changes was to theLocal Government Act to give Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock the power to postpone the September council elections until up to December 31, 2021.
On Wednesday evening, she advised the elections would be held in September next year.
"Local government elections are a vital part of the democratic process, ensuring local councils are accountable to their local communities," she said in a letter to the council.
"Therefore, the decision to postpone them has not been taken lightly but is necessary to ensure the health and safety of voters, NSW Electoral Commission staff and election candidates."
For Orange councillors, who were to have a shorter term due to council amalgamations delaying the last election, it would mean a return to a full four-year stint.
Mayor Reg Kidd will retire at the election but said other councillors seeking re-election had been concerned about not being able to campaign.
"Most stuff is getting out and talking to people - if you're thinking about running at the moment, how would you get a profile?" he said.
"Younger ones are into social media, but a lot of people don't like social media."
The other change was to allow councils to hold official meetings electronically rather than physically.
Cr Kidd said while he preferred to hold meetings in person, the measure was necessary.
"In these sorts of times, this is an alternative we have to try," he said.
"I've been in a couple of them in the last two weeks in Sydney and Canberra, which had 22 people in them and they worked fine."
Councillors already have council-issued tablets, which would facilitate electronic meetings.
Council chief executive officer David Waddell said the council was investigating the best way forward.
"We do want to use an option where community members can at least watch the debate - we're already able to do that by livestreaming," he said.
"We will also look ways community members can to speak on issues before council, as is the case with the public forums when council meets face-to-face."
Mr Waddell said the next meeting was scheduled for April 7.
"We are working towards that date or we may need to postpone," he said.
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