There have been repeated calls for better transparency on Wangaratta Council from the challengers looking to win one of the seven seats available in the current election.
A candidates forum was held on Wednesday night over Zoom, organised by deputy mayor Dave Fuller and hosted by Matt Hobbs from Ace Radio, with 14 of the candidates attending.
Jack Henry, Julian Fidge and Helen Senior all argued the council had to improve its transparency. "I've heard it over and over again - the community wants greater transparency, engagement and opportunity to influence outcomes," Mr Henry said.
Dr Fidge, the only member of the council sacked in 2013 to run in 2020, also argued to keep rates lower and watch council spending.
But current councillor Ken Clarke disagreed. "I'm a little bit disturbed that some candidates have said they won't want a rate rise," he said.
"I think that they're talking up the wrong tree ... if we don't have a rate rise, then we won't be able to keep with with all the duties."
IN OTHER NEWS:
As the state's oldest councillor and looking for another three years in the job, Cr Clarke also revealed some exciting personal news.
"I was widowed 16 years ago and just in the last 12 months I've started a relationship and intend to get married next year," he said.
Simon Verdon, Rose Wedler, Suz Christison, Rho Fry, Irene Grant, Helen Senior and Jennifer Garrett were other challengers at the forum, joining councillors Ashlee Fitzpatrick, Harry Bussell and mayor Dean Rees.
Cr Rees said it was important to know councillors will not always agree, but wanted to "make sure that we can work cohesively, without bickering and fighting, and be able to go and have a beer at the end of the day after a good council meeting".