New Somerset council ready to deliver
A DIVERSE mix of old and new will represent the residents of Somerset over the next four years with two new faces joining the council team this term.
The Somerset Regional Council's new team was sworn in at the council's first official meeting at Esk yesterday morning.
Somerset mayor Graeme Lehmann welcomed four returning councillors, Dan Hall, Michael (Otis) Ogg, Helen Brieschke and Bob Whalley, as well as two newly-elected representatives, Sean Choat and Cheryl Gaedtke to the team.
Cr Choat said he had already been approached by members of the community who want to see him tackle some tough issues in the region.
"It's now just me and the people and now we can get down to business," he said.
"We're a really cohesive group and it's quite a diverse council. We've got a real mixture of ages and genders so I think we are going to work really well together.
"There's a lot of concern about development and the main thing is more consultation with the people, attracting more businesses to the region and let's get a spirit of growth and prosperity in."
His fellow councillors appointed local government stalwart, Cr Dan Hall, to the position of deputy mayor.
Cr Hall previously held the position of deputy mayor for four years and has worked in local government for more than three decades.
"I feel honoured and privileged to be appointed to this position by my fellow councillors and I look forward to supporting and working with the team for the betterment of Somerset over the next four years," Cr Hall said.
Mayor Lehmann said a key issue for council over the next four years would be welcoming new infrastructure and development to the area while maintaining its rural lifestyle.
"We've got a good mix of councillors from all walks of life," Cr Lehmann said.
"We will work collectively to deliver additional services and projects to Somerset residents over the next four years while aiming to maintain our debt-free status.
"We want to enhance and protect our rural lifestyle and picturesque landscape and we will continue to encourage and promote tourism in our region and support our community wherever possible."
Councillors voted to continue to hold meetings, which the public are able to attend, on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month starting at 9am in the Simeon Lord Room at the Esk Library.