This Thursday night, Dubbo regional councillors will meet to determine who will be the mayor and deputy mayor of the region for the next 12 months. This is only the second time Dubbo Regional Council has had a mayoral election since the amalgamation of Dubbo city and Wellington councils.
The last two years as mayor has been a real eye-opener. After 18 years as a councillor on Dubbo City Council, I use to proudly say that I knew Dubbo like the back of my hand. I know where every street and road is, I know what road was in bad condition and generally had a great grasp on what was happening around the city council area.
In my perspective, the merger added 150 percent more land mass to the LGA. It is a huge extra area that I didn't quite know enough of (and still can learn a thing or two about).
I have found that in some aspects that former Wellington councillors have a great depth and understanding of their shire and have very strong views on how things should be run.
I have also delightfully discovered that Wellington locals love to volunteer, love to be out and about in their community and are very protective of their town - regardless if they were from the pro or anti-amalgamation camp.
There is no doubt that it has been particularly challenging merging the two organisations. Even culturally the two organisations had very different ideas about doing things.
My solution is not to force the old ways of one council onto another, but adopt an entirely new approach to being a council. I still believe that we are at least another five years away from full harmonisation and smooth operating between the organisations as one.
We have achieved a lot since the merger. The main street beautification has been long overdue, multiple sporting ovals and playgrounds have been significantly upgraded, Stuart Town is about to have non-potable water turned on and the new Aquatic Centre is not far away from opening (mid-November).
Soon, we will see the opening of a new museum at the old police station site, a new home for the Visitor's Information Centre and a totally new concept for Wellington, the Wiradjuri Cultural Centre which will be housed in the old visitor's centre that is to be fully renovated. Wellington has a great future ahead of it.
All of the councillors on Dubbo Regional Council recognise this and that's why we have committed to the unprecedented levels of local Council funding to Wellington.
Over the coming period there are a lot more works to continue - too many to list!
It has certainly been my absolute honour and privilege to serve as your mayor for the past two years. Whatever the outcome of this Thursday's meeting, I thank the people of Wellington for their patience of having a Mayor on "Wellington L-plates" and I especially thank everyone for the opportunity to be the first Mayor of the new Dubbo Region.