Southern Downs mayoral adversaries exit local politics

MAYORAL candidates Peter Blundell and deputy Ross Bartley will soon step away from local politics.

Cr Blundell was voted mayor in 2012, after serving as deputy mayor for four years under Ron Bellingham.

Running for a second mayoral term, he vowed not to make unrealistic promises in the face of debt.

He said Southern Downs Regional Council was on track to achieve an operating surplus of $374,000; well above the forecast $9000.

"I am proud to say that under my leadership SDRC has delivered a budget surplus for the first time since amalgamation," he said during his campaign.

"It is essential the debt reduction strategy is continued so we can borrow or budget for essential projects.

"Put simply, if we don't continue to reduce our debt, the region will not be able to fund key projects that will give the young people of our region a future."

A Warwick-born farmer, Cr Bartley was also ousted from the mayoral race.

Cr Bartley had previously served in Warwick Shire Council in 2000, and was elected uncontested as deputy in 2012 with 7.73% of councillor votes.

He said he was critical of bringing higher rate rises to the region, suggesting more could be done to alleviate financial woes without putting pressure on ratepayers.

"Halfway through my term I thought we might need a new style of leadership in the new council," Cr Bartley said.

"We can all run surplus budgets if we put a 10% rate increase every year but it's not sustainable."

The Daily News has attempted to contact both councillors for the past week seeking further comment.



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