Cr Rex Wilson’s parting gift to the people of Warren Shire is his decision not to force a costly by-election.
Ill health led to his retirement from the role of mayor in late 2018 and a “leave of absence” from Warren Shire Council.
He would “stand down tomorrow” but the prospect of ratepayers having to fork out a “minimum of $35,000” for a by-election has factored into his decision to stay on longer.
Local government elections are scheduled for September 2020.
“I will hang around as long as necessary to avoid a by-election,” he said.
Cr Wilson, almost 73, successfully stood for council in 1983 with the view that as a fourth-generation resident of the district he needed to make “some sort of commitment”.
In 1988 he was elected mayor, a position uncontested for 30 years.
“All the councils I was involved with were constructive and not mischievous and so that made the job if not pleasant than possible,” Cr Wilson said.
Among his achievements as part of the council is an expanded and strengthened levee bank around Warren, built over a “number of years” and requiring negotiations with a series of new governments.
“I think what makes us a bit unique at Warren is that we have never been political,” Cr Wilson said.
He is proud of the council’s investment in the well-patronised Warren Sporting and Cultural Centre.
“If you don’t have a functional and attractive town and you don’t have the very best road network you can afford leading to that town, all the rest of it is a waste of time,” he said.
As he prepares to “disappear” from public life, Cr Wilson is concerned that councils are “expected to do many things outside their core activities”.
“In reality the community elects us to do a job for them and not for another tier of government or government agency,” the former mayor said.
The married father and grandfather has thanked his family for their support along with former general manager of Warren Shire Council Ashley Wielinga who was on the “same page” as his mayor for 20 years.