Forbes Shire Council elections are coming up on December 4 and the Advocate is profiling our candidates beginning with current councillors who are going to stand again. They'll be featured, in alphabetical order, over the coming week ...
Few people were more excited than Graeme Miller to see the ballot for the first blocks of residential land in Goldridge Estate drawn last Thursday night.
Cr Miller was a member of the Jemalong Aged Peoples Association that negotiated to purchase that land for the future JRV - and then the group that handed that land to council for development once the new residential aged care facility was built.
So seeing the blocks become available for sale in the current environment where there's high demand for housing and land was pretty special.
That's just one of the highlights of the past five years on council, an extended and busy term for Cr Miller who was first elected in 2004.
Across three terms of local government Cr Miller has served two years as mayor and five as deputy mayor, and he continues to chair and serve on committees including the Central West Livestock Exchange and Forbes / Parkes community housing.
It can make for a demanding schedule but it's a rewarding one, he says, and he'll certainly be registering as a candidate for the next term which does look set to be a shortened one.
Some other exciting developments over the past five years have been the major improvement works at the Central West Livestock Exchange.
"It's one of the main industries in our town with a turnover of about one-third of a billion dollars a year," Cr Miller said.
Forbes and Parkes Community Housing has a focus on providing social and affordable housing, and there's good news on that front with the committee taking on the management of Lachlan House in Forbes and seeing a potential for development there.
Cr Miller was mayor when work on the lake activation plan begun, and he's delighted to see it coming to fruition.
"With the families and the kids down there, it's exactly as we envisaged," he said.
Should Cr Miller be elected again in December the end of the term would mark nearly 20 years since he first got involved in local government, and the town has made significant progress in that time.
It's not only what the council has been able to do, but where it's been able to support community groups to create amazing events like Grazing Down the Lachlan and attractions like Sculpture Down the Lachlan that draw people to Forbes.
There's more to be done both as part of the lake activation plan and in other areas, and it's a testament to the work of councillors and council staff, Cr Miller said, particularly paying tribute to the work of general manager Steve Loane.
"The thing I'd love to see is an undercover equestrian centre, and I would like to finish the lake activation plan," Cr Miller added.
He'd certainly urge more people to take a serious look at being involved in their community through the council, and livestreaming meetings has helped more people gain insight into its function.
But he'd also advise new councillors to be ready to listen and learn especially in the early days.
"Don't go in with an agenda, go in with an open mind," he said.
"The first 18 months is a real learning curve, be willing to enjoy it, you meet some wonderful people."