FORMER Corowa mayor Fred Longmire has decided to retire from Federation Council in a move which caught colleagues by surprise.
The Balldale local reached his final decision shortly before nominations closed at midday on Wednesday for December 4's council election.
"After 19 years it's time to give it away and let other people have a go," he said.
Cr Longmire's public service stretches back 50 years to when he joined the Balldale silo committee in his 20s.
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He plans to tend his roses and travel to England for the 2023 Ashes series and to explore his family history.
Mayor Pat Bourke and deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch were both caught unawares by Cr Longmire's move.
Another former Corowa mayor Paul Miegel had announced at Tuesday morning's extraordinary council meeting he would not be seeking another term and councillor Bronwyn Thomas previously said she was bowing out.
Those recontesting are Cr Bourke, deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch, Norm Wales, Andrew Kennedy David Longley and Gail Law.
New teams in the vote are led by educator Sally Hughes and designer Aaron Nichols, who both hail from Corowa.
Solo contenders are Savernake farmer Janette Outram, Corowa retiree David Harrison, Urana tradie Mick Robson and Redlands agribusiness operator Rowena Black.
Cr Bourke welcomed the numbers, saying it was good to have competition and new blood contesting the nine places.