DEPUTY mayor Bobby Bourke has urged his council colleagues to "stick to their guns" and finally give Bathurst voters the chance to say whether they want to directly elect their mayor.
Cr Bourke will table a notice of motion at Wednesday night's Bathurst Regional Council meeting calling for a referendum on the question of a popularly-elected mayor to be held in conjunction with full council elections in September 2020.
It comes after mayor Graeme Hanger used his casting vote at last month's meeting to defeat the proposal after councillors were locked at four-four.
But the one absentee that night, Councillor Jacqui Rudge, has since indicated she would back a referendum after also supporting that position ahead of her election to council in 2017.
Cr Rudge's vote would finally give Cr Bourke the five votes he needs to make the referendum a reality providing all other councillors vote the same way they did in June.
And Cr Bourke said he was confident that would happen.
"I've been fighting for this since about 2007 and I think times are now changing in the way we are doing things," he said.
"As I've said all along, I think the people of Bathurst deserve to have their say.
"That doesn't mean we will have a popularly-elected mayor but if we let the people have their say I won't have to keep going on about it for another 10 years."
Cr Bourke said he would not be Bathurst's first popularly-elected mayor.
"By the time it comes around [in 2024] I will be off council," he said.
"This is not about me wanting to be a popularly-elected mayor, it's all about holding a referendum and finally asking the people what they think."
Tell us what you think ...
Cr Bourke said his experience on council had convinced him that a popularly-elected mayor - elected for a four-year term - would bring greater stability to the role.
"I think the people's choice would be better because we would not then have all this haggling within the council about who should be mayor and the councillors would have more time to concentrate on what they should be doing," he said.
"And the people aren't silly. They will vote for the person they think can get Bathurst moving forward."
While Cr Bourke's push for a referendum is expected to finally get up on Wednesday, he has made it clear he will keep fighting if it doesn't.
"I'm not going to give up now. I will keep going until I get the right council to give the people a choice," he said.