MICHELLE Byrne and Philip Ruddock will be the new mayors of The Hills and Hornsby.
Despite swings against the Liberal Party and Labor gaining control of Liberal-controlled councils, Liberal candidates Cr Byrne and Mr Ruddock won their respective elections.
Cr Byrne became the first popularly-elected mayor of The Hills. Residents decided via referendum at the 2012 election to introduce popuarly-elected mayors, who will remain in the top job for the full term.
“It was a special moment to become the first popularly-elected mayor,” Cr Byrne said.
“It is really good to know that I have so much support from the community and I will not let them down.
“I love The Hills and I want to make sure that it is still a great play to live, work, and raise a family.”
Cr Byrne said it was “incredible” to get 10 out of 13 positions. The last position in doubt is in the North Ward, but Liberal’s Brooke Collins is in the box seat to claim the spot ahead of Labor’s Immanuel Selvaraj.
Mr Ruddock is set to don the mayoral chains for Hornsby Council, but did not win as comfortably as Cr Byrne.
Cr Byrne has 62 per cent of first-preference votes with 90,000 out of 110,000 votes counted.
With 82,000 out of 99,000 votes counted in Hornsby, Mr Ruddock has 48 per cent of first-preference votes for the popularly elected mayoral position.
“I have a very ambitious program I wish to pursue,” the 74-year-old parliamentary veteran said.
“I am keen to press strongly on the development issues and focus on what I think the community wants to see.
“Service for me is about the people you represent and I am anxious to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of Hornsby shire.”
The former federal member for Berowra’s surprise return came after Steve Russell, who served as Hornsby mayor from 2012, was ousted by the Liberal Party.
With votes still being counted, it is likely the new council will include four Liberal councillors, two Greens councillors with the three remaining spots requiring preferences to resolve.
See the full coverage in Hills News’ September 14 edition.