Why we could wait days to find out Lismore's new mayor
PREFERENCES will determine the next mayor of Lismore said Jenny Dowell as she cast her last vote as mayor after eight years in the position.
"I don't think anyone will get the 50% majority needed to win the title outright," said the retiring councillor at Goonellabah Public School, where she has distributed how-to-vote cards for the past 15 years.
Cr Dowell predicted voters would have to wait until Monday night or as late as Tuesday before a count of preferences and postal votes revealed her successor.
"It's going to be close," she said.
The outgoing mayor said elections without an incumbent often produced close results.
"My first election was like that and then I won by a landslide in my second," she said.
"Five out of six are sitting councillors so it's a very open race."
Mayor Dowell on her legacy
Cr Dowell said the community response during her time supporting Labor Party mayoral candidate Isaac Smith's campaign was mostly positive.
"Most people were pleased about [the council's work] on growth and the environment," she said.
"But some feel that the balance hasn't been there."
She said some people expressed views that the outgoing council spent too much money on the environment, arts and culture and gave the Regional Gallery in Lismore as an example "without realising the existing role of grants and community funds" in its development.
"Stay calm, stay nice": Cr Dowell's advice to next mayor
Cr Dowell said the reality of her retirement probably wouldn't hit until "I hand over my keys and my car and my swipe card" on Tuesday.
"A lot of people thought I'd be said but there has been a lot of joy," she said of her final days as mayor, including a "standing ovation" by students at Trinity Catholic College when she visited recently.
When asked for advice to her successor Cr Dowell said "stay calm, stay nice and remember that the people you are handing out against may well be the people you sit around the council table with so keep those lines of communication open so we have a constructive council".