A couple of new candidates led the polling for the new Cabonne Council, which serves Eugowra, at time of preparing for press on Monday.
Playwright Kevin Beatty had 882 – or 12.23 per cent – of the first preference votes, closely followed by Molong Advancement Group vice president Peter Batten with 840 or 11.65 per cent.
Peter Batten, a former TAFE teacher who has lived between Molong and Manildra for the past 19 years, said as a new candidate he was surprised.
A member of the Molong-based Amalgamation No Thank You (ANTY) during the failed merger bid with Orange and Blayney councils, Mr Batten attributed much of his electoral success to help from ANTY members at the polling booths.
Also passing the quota and likely to be elected were deputy mayor Kevin Walker with 10.79 per cent of the vote, councillors Greg Treavors and Marlene Nash with 9.38 per cent and 8.46 per cent respectively.
Former Canowindra Phoenix publisher Cheryl Newsom had received 8.17 per cent, Molong RSL president Jamie Jones 7.92 per cent and incumbent Ian Davison 7.30 per cent.
Vying for the remaining five positions, incumbent Anthony Durkin is still short of the quota, as are Molong Express writer Paul Mullins, former councillor Jenny Weaver, anti-amalgamation campaigner Derek Johnson, barrister Duncan Brakell, and Jayes Gallery director Libby Oldham.
Mr Batten said candidates received a clear message from voters they did not know enough about their candidates before Saturday’s poll.
At Saturday’s election, Cabonne ratepayers also had to vote in a referendum on whether to reduce the number of councillors from 12 to nine in 2020.
More than 60 per cent – 4618 – had voted in favour of doing that at time of preparing for press.
Mr Batten said it was a decisive result, although nine councillors would find spreading themselves across the Cabonne electorate area a challenge.