Kennedy wins election

Tom Kennedy is set to become the new mayor of the Broken Hill City Council.

The independent candidate has received almost 55 percent of the counted votes according to the NSW Electoral Commission.

The Mayor Elect said he felt “overwhelmed” about his victory that was a long-time goal.

“I’m just so happy to be elected Mayor,” Mr Kennedy said. “I’m happy not just for myself but for the people that elected me.

“This time I’ve sold the vision I have for the city a lot better than I sold it in the past.”

Mr Kennedy joined the local public office in the late 90s before his first mayoral bid in 2004.

He will take over from Darriea Turley AM who has served in the top job since 2016 and got the vote of confidence over Independent candidate Dave Gallagher.

The incoming Mayor said there was an outpouring of support from family, friends, and the wider community after the December 4 decider.

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“People have been so supportive and so happy,” Mr Kennedy said. “I’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of messages of well wishes.

“I plan to respond to anyone that actually gave me a well wish.”

Mrs Turley expressed her thoughts on the new appointment via social media on Saturday night.

The Facebook post said: “Congratulations Mayor Kennedy. It is an honour and a pleasure to serve the community of Broken Hill and I know you will enjoy this role as much as I did.”

Mr Kennedy expects to be joined with the councillor candidates who ran alongside him during his election campaign.

He said he was “over the moon” that the five quotas will help secure positions for Michael Boland, Bob Algate, Jim Hickey, Hayley Jewitt and Alan Chandler.

“At this stage we have enough to get all five elected as councillors,” Mr Kennedy said.

“They are passionate about introducing our vision for the city and representing the community.

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“If we can get all of them in, projects will happen, things will happen very quickly.”

Implementation of that vision is now the sole focus of the mayor elect and the councillors that will soon be announced.

Mr Kennedy said he will rely on teamwork and the community’s support to ease the pressure off his new position.

“You can have the ideas, but the reality is that you got to have the community behind you, the councillors behind you, your family, and friends behind you,” he said.

“What that also does is take a lot of pressure off you because you are sharing the workload.”

He will waste no time making policy changes with immediate short-term plans to reinstate the public question time at the council meeting and standing committees.

“It’s important that the public get to speak at the beginning and the end of the meeting without having to pre-record their questions,” Mr Kennedy said.

“That (standing committees) will give the opportunity for councillors to make decisions before the Council meeting and have input from the community.”

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Public meetings are projected to be held bi-monthly to provide the business and residential community to offer greater input and share their ideas.

Long-term, plans will be centred around improving the Silver City’s liveability for locals and attract visitors to the area.

“We need to make sure rates are affordable so that we have people that want to move here,” Mr Kennedy said.

“I want the Imperial Lake done simply because it sends a message to people that come from away that the place is moving forward.”

Changes to waste management, creation of jobs, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation support services were also labelled as top priorities.

However, the multi-million-dollar Broken Hill City Library redevelopment will be halted to fulfil a campaign pledge.

“That will be one of the first things that will be discussed, stopped, and revisited,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We will go back to the community to see what direction they want to go with that.

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Mr Kennedy wants to carry the celebrations of his triumph into the next council meeting scheduled for December 23.

Outgoing mayor Turley will now move on to head the Local Government NSW (LGNSW), the state’s peak council body, after she was elected as president.

“I’m looking forward to chairing a great Board and working collaboratively with my fellow directors to achieve real and meaningful outcomes for NSW councils and the communities they serve,” she said.

The newly constituted LGNSW Board will meet for the first time in early 2022.

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