Administrators tasked with steering Wangaratta Council back on course have said goodbye to their unique roles, urging the next council to continue along the course they had set for the city.
It was not always smooth sailing for the trio appointed by the state government, but on Tuesday they chose to go out with words of gratitude towards the community.
Administrator Irene Grant said she was proud the team of directors appointed at the start of their term had developed into a “cohesive team”.
“After the comments made to me, particularly in recent weeks, I think we’ve been successful and Wangaratta is back on the map,” she said.
“I once heard the Rural City of Wangaratta described as a council that punched above its weight … the fact that Wangaratta has had a vision that looks at strengthening its position in regional Australia and beyond I think has brought recognition for our municipality.”
They started in 2013, after the previous elected council was sacked, and tasked with restoring stability.
Ms Grant said she hoped the new council would continue the work.
Administrator Rodney Roscholler said achieving all the goals was “a mountain too high for anyone to climb”, but they had succeeded in stabilising the council and reconnecting with the community.
“It’s over to ratepayers to make decisions on (the election) and I hope we end up with a council that never looks back,” he said.
Chair of administrators Ailsa Fox reflected on her controversial China trip, saying it was an important market for primary producers.
Key figures in Wangaratta’s sister city, Jiangsu, had taken offence to the council going years without visiting as part of their agreement.
“To put it quite bluntly, they were quite upset with us when we first started talking to them,” Ms Fox said.
“By the time we left the relationship had healed, but I don’t think it would respond to another setback like that where we haven’t contacted them.”
Reigning Wangaratta citizen of the year Anne Shaw finished the meeting by thanking the administrators for their integrity and community leadership.