Should the ward system be abolished?
That's the question the public will be asked when they go to vote in the December local government elections.
The ward system was introduced when the Dubbo and Wellington councils were amalgamated as a way to ensure all of the local government area was represented in the elected body.
However, councillor Vicki Etheridge has called for a referendum as the first step in abolishing the ward system, which she has labelled a "disaster".
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At the council meeting on Monday night, not all of the councillors agreed. Deputy mayor Anne Jones, and councillors David Grant and Greg Mohr voted against the referendum.
They raised concerns around Wellington and the smaller villages losing their voice on council.
Cr Jones begged for the councillors to vote against the referendum. She said if it went ahead council would be lucky to have one Wellington person elected.
Cr Grant said he didn't believe now was the right time to change the system.
"I understand at the last council election people were confused and didn't know what was going on. That's because it never happened before... Of course you're going to have a bit of confusion on how people are voting and who they're going to vote for," he said.
"I think people have a better understanding on how this ward system works."
But they were outvoted.
Cr Ethridge said she had faith Wellington would not lose its voice. She said the system as it currently stood was undemocratic.
"By splitting us up into wards we don't offer proper choice for anyone. In some wards last time there was, in reality, no competition at all," she said.
"The ward system simply doesn't suit this community. That is why is was so confusing and unpopular at the last election."
Cr Etheridge said the referendum would allow the community to decide if the ward system should remain.
If the wards are abolished, the number of councillors will also be increased to 11.
Mayor Stephen Lawrence said it would not only lower the quota for someone getting elected - which he believed would benefit those running in Wellington - but would ensure there was an uneven number of councillors. Cr Lawrence said he was not comfortable having the deciding vote when it was even split between the councillors.
This is what voters will answer at the election: 'Currently Dubbo Regional Council is divided into five wards that elect 10 councillors in total; do you favour abolishing this ward system in favour of a single area consisting of all voters that elects 11 councillors?'.