EVEN Richie Williamson was surprised at the number of votes he received at the weekend's local government elections.
"I was a little bit surprised," he said.
"I got 17% in 2008 and I thought 20% might be good, but 32% is amazing," he said.
Cr Williamson was the only candidate who went to bed on Saturday night knowing he had enough votes to secure his seat on Clarence Valley Council.
Now re-elected, Cr Williamson wants to focus on the job ahead.
"We need to work as a unified team to find solutions . . . and I'm sure we can," he said.
"Once the polls are declared we will move very quickly into the councillor development stage and bring our new councillors up to speed with what the council is doing in this year's operational plan."
Cr Williamson confirmed he would be standing for mayor when the council meets on September 25.
Cr Williamson said financial sustainability was one of the greatest challenges facing the council.
"We need to continually work on our long-term financial sustainability," he said.
"We need to get a very good understanding of where we're at with regard to asset management; and that includes a good handle on depreciation of our assets.
"The former council started that process but it is now up to the new council, once the polls are declared, to pick up the ball and run with that.
"We will also be looking at delivering a number of projects, including a new library forGrafton.
"(As well), Early next year Iluka sewerage will become operational and we will move on further planning works for the Yamba scheme as well."
Cr Williamson said he wasn't surprised at how well Andrew Baker and Jason Kingsley had polled.
"I think Andrew and Jason will be quality assets to the council," he said.
"They bring with them different viewpoints within the community and that's always important.
"But I think those two, who will be elected to the council, will bring some quality and some new thoughts to the council as well, and that certainly is welcome."
A mixture of new blood and old heads was the best way to go in forming a council, Cr Williamson said.
"I think the mixture of experience and new ideas is always important. I firmly believe that," he said.
"So the balance of experience and new enthusiasm is very much welcomed."