THE new year is well and truly here and, according to the shire's new mayor, it's time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.
Tony Reneker was elected as Leeton shire's mayor just before Christmas on December 22, with councillor Michael Kidd his deputy.
It's his first time as mayor and a position he is not taking lightly, but one he said was a huge honour.
Cr Reneker has plenty on the agenda for 2022, but stressed the role of mayor was not about any one person, ego or power.
He said it was a role taken on behalf of the community in a bid to work in its best interests at all times.
Cr Reneker has devised a strategy for his term as mayor in what he calls the "five C's".
That is - community confidence in council, campaign, complete, consolidate and re-calibrate.
Cr Reneker, who has a long background with the NSW Police Force and has lived in Leeton for 22 years, said he was passionate about the community and bettering the lives of all residents.
He explained his "five C's" plan.
"When it comes to community confidence ... (we) need to maintain and improve, if possible, through being open, transparent and engaging," Cr Reneker said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"The next is campaign. We need improved health and hospital services. A health services plan is being developed (by Leeton Shire Council in conjunction with health services in the region).
"The Omicron wave is coming and we had no testing in Leeton over the break until January 10.
"We need sensible water policies to properly service the MIA.
"A stop to cost shifting from the state and federal governments to local government.
"A more sustainable rate peg (as well).
"Surveys also show some community members don't feel safe and we need to advocate on their behalf to local police."
The third 'C' is "complete".
Cr Reneker said there were several big projects that council was looking to complete and he was hopeful these would all start to move along in the near future.
These projects include the Wamoon sewerage plan, the redevelopment of the Roxy Theatre, the installation of the new water slide at the Leeton pool, Vance Estate work, the WR Connect freight hub, Gogeldrie Weir, CBD enhancement, the Leeton Early Learning Centre expansion and Canal Street upgrade.
"The fourth is 'consolidate' and that means to ensure our (council's) long-term sustainability is strengthened and secured ... that's really important," Cr Reneker said.
"The last is 're-calibrate'. We need to ensure our strategic priorities still reflect those of the community and that our policies are fair to all."
Cr Reneker and his fellow councillors will have their second meeting as the new-look group in February.
However, it has already been all systems go since their election, despite the festive period.
Cr Reneker said it was important the momentum and enthusiasm shown in the lead up to the election be maintained.
When it comes to community confidence ... (we) need to maintain and improve, if possible, through being open, transparent and engaging.- Leeton shire mayor Tony Reneker
"I think we have a really solid group of councillors who are all here for the right reasons," he said. "Everyone is keen to work on behalf of the community.
"I don't think anyone is there for their own agenda. We all share in common wanting to achieve good outcomes for the shire."
With plenty ahead in the coming years, Cr Reneker was asked why he put his hand up for the role of mayor.
He, along with councillor George Weston, were the two nominees for the position, with Cr Reneker edging out the former by one vote.
"It's an honour to be the mayor, but I think it's a position that is about more than just one person, it's not about me, it's about our shire," Cr Reneker said.
"I've always wanted to give back to the community and this is another way of doing so.
"It's something you do in conjunction with the other councillors, council staff and the community."
Cr Reneker said his career with the police force should hold him in good stead for the mayoral role.
"I've learned a lot about leadership over the years, so I'm hoping to put that to good use," he said.
Cr Reneker also thanked Emeritus Mayor Paul Maytom for his dedication and service over the last 33 years.
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