FOUR incumbents, two former councillors and three new faces will lead Wellington Shire Council for the next four years.
Voters have returned incumbents Scott Rossetti (Sale), Darren McCubbin (Longford), Malcolm Hole (Heyfield) and current mayor Peter Cleary (Briagolong), while Gregg Cook, Jane Hildebrant and Jeff Amos will not be back for another term on council.
Robertsons Beach resident Bob Wenger, who served on council from 2005 to 2008, is back, while Carolyn Crossley from Cowwarr, who served on the former City of Sale Council, was also elected.
Sale residents Emilie Davine and Patrick McIvor, who turns 26 next month, will be Wellington Shire’s youngest ever councillor, and John Duncan from Maffra complete the list of nine councillors.
Three candidates were elected on the primary vote Mr Rossetti (3852), Mrs Davine (3240) and Mr McCubbin (3031).
Following the distribution of the surplus votes for the last-placed candidate, Mr Cook’s, according to preferences, Mr Hole was elected to maintain his status as Wellington Shire’s longest serving councillor.
The remaining new councillors were also elected after the distribution of surplus votes, with Mr Duncan snaring the final place from Steve Boyce.
After a candidate receives the specific portion of the vote, in the case of this election, 2743, votes above that mark are distributed to the other candidates for a lesser value.
Of the 42,181 eligible to vote in the election, including people who live outside the shire but own property within it, 29,009 (or 68.77 per cent) cast a vote in the postal election, reportedly rural Victoria’s lowest turnout. There were 1581 informal votes cast.
The nine councillors will be sworn in at a special council meeting tonight from 5pm at the Port of Sale Civic Centre.
At that meeting the mayor and, if needed, deputy mayor for the next 12 months will be elected.
The councillors will also set their annual allowance, voting on the recommendation that the mayor receive $73,721 and the other eight councillors $23,826.