ALBURY councillor Daryl Betteridge has opened the first round of mayoral election chatter after standing down as chairman of the city's liquor accord.
After six years, Cr Betteridge handed over the chairperson role to Jodie Tiernan this week and hasn't ruled out standing for mayor or deputy mayor.
But he predicted Cr Henk van de Ven is poised to realise a long-held ambition to be mayor if Cr Kevin Mack decides to relinquish the post next month.
Cr Betteridge stood for mayor two years ago and was beaten 5-4 by Cr Mack, who survived a last minute challenge from mayor Alice Glachan 12 months ago.
Asked if he would rule out nominating for either position, Cr Betteridge said: "No.
"I am fairly certain there is going to be a new mayor.
"But if you ask me who I think the next mayor of Albury will be, I would say Henk van de Ven.
"I've been saying that for a long time.
"I honestly believe he will have the numbers if he puts his hand up."
Cr van de Ven has had four cracks at becoming mayor, but lost each time to Cr Glachan.
He stood down as deputy mayor last year with Cr Ross Jackson elected to the position.
The present council is entering its final term with elections due next year.
Cr Betteridge took over as the liquor accord chairman from Commercial Club chief executive Bruce Duck in 2009.
The Dean Street business owner has been joined on the accord in recent times by council colleague, Cr David Thurley, who has also been touted as mayor or deputy mayor.
Ms Tiernan is the NSW operations manager for Armada Hospitality which operates four licenced venues in Albury _ Sodens, Groove Saint, BeerDeLuxe and Paddy's.
She previously managed pubs in London and Sydney before returning to Albury to help start up Carevan.
Cr Betteridge said the timing was right for a handover in charge of the accord.
"It is in a good position and I felt I didn't have anything more to offer," he said.
"We've got no premises on the most violent list at present."
The liquor accord resisted pressure last year to introduce tougher measures to curb alcohol-fuelled violence.
They were bringing forward the 1.30am lockout by an hour and blanket ban on sale of shots.