THE nominations are in, the ballots are drawn up and the councils are in caretaker mode — let the voting begin.
Candidates for the municipal elections were confirmed yesterday, with nominations closing at noon. Postal voting runs from today until October 26.
The most hotly contested council will be Colac-Otway with 14 candidates vying for seven vacancies.
Warrnambool is not far behind with 12 people in the running for the seven seats at the council table.
Andrew Fawcett was the only Warrnambool councillor not to re-nominate, telling The Standard he had set himself a two-term limit when first elected.
“After eight years you get a bit comfortable in the job and personally I think it needs some fresh blood,” Cr Fawcett said. “But I enjoyed it so much -— it’s such a rewarding job.”
Mayor Jacinta Ermacora drew the much-coveted top spot on the Warrnambool ballot.
In Moyne Shire, only nine residents nominated with Ken Gale the only sitting councillor who chose not to put his hand up again.
“I’ve got some other plans, and eight years is a good amount of time to be on council,” Cr Gale said.
He added that he planned to maintain volunteering as an ambassador for anti-domestic violence program White Ribbon — a project he discovered through his time on Moyne Shire Council.
Cr Gale’s absence will mean at least one of Moyne’s potential new faces — Ralph Leutton, Kelvin Goodall and Anthony Keane — is guaranteed a spot at the council table.
There was almost another vacancy, with councillor Bernie Harris leaving his nomination until yesterday morning.
He wasn’t the latest name to join the council race.
That honour goes to Glenelg Shire candidate Malcolm Alexander, who waited until 10 minutes before the cut-off time to become the 11th person in the race.
Cr Bruce Cross is the only sitting Glenelg councillor not to nominate again.
The Southern Grampians Shire election also got a last-minute nominee, with Leigh Maylor putting himself in contention at 11.45am yesterday.
Mr Maylor was the 10th resident to nominate.
He is one of five new faces in the Southern Grampians campaign, and at least two of the newcomers are guaranteed a spot on the council after Marcus Rentsch and Don Robertson elected not to stand again.
Some of the races in the Corangamite Shire Council election have already been won due to the shire being the last to continue with the ward system in the south-west.
Councillors Jo Beard and Geoff Smith will hold their positions uncontested in the single-vacancy wards of south-central and north respectively, while newcomer Peter Harkin will be elected uncontested as the lone councillor in the coastal ward. The central ward, which has three vacancies, will be a battle between incumbents Chris O’Connor and Ruth Gstrein and newcomers Wayne Oakes, Robert Fleming, and Chris Maguire.
The south-west ward election sees two fresh faces — Simone Renyard and Neil Trotter — vying for the one available seat.
Corangamite has the most councillors not returning, with Michael Absalom, Steve Cumming and Matt Makin all stepping down.
Colac-Otway will be the biggest battleground. Cr Geoff Higgins is the only councillor not standing again, but with eight new names on the ballot, there is bound to be some changes.