Danny Claridge has been unanimously elected as the mayor of Benalla council for a 12-month term.
He secured the position unopposed at a council meeting on Wednesday, November 15.
Expressing his gratitude and enthusiasm for the role, Cr Claridge said he was "honoured and humbled" to be elected to the role.
"I'd like to thank my fellow councillors for giving me the opportunity to lead through our final year," he said.
"It's a privilege I don't take lightly, and I'm eager to contribute to the continued progress and prosperity of our community."
Cr Claridge was first elected to the council in 2016, and served as the city's mayor in 2020 and 2021.
"I spent two years telling people to wash their hands, go away and lock themselves up in their house," he said.
"Hopefully this time around we'll be doing exactly the opposite and inviting people to come and visit Benalla and experience all the exciting things we have to offer."
Cr Claridge said his main focus as mayor was the Benalla Art Gallery redevelopment, "which is fully funded (with a) Victorian government grant of $3 million".
His second priority was the construction of a new indoor recreation centre.
"The existing one is 40- or 50-years-old, so we've got funding of $15 million to build a new indoor recreation centre that will house basketball, squash, racketball and all those sorts of indoor activities," he said.
Cr Claridge took a moment to extend his appreciation to outgoing mayor Cr Bernie Hearn for her service over the past two years.
"She has worked tirelessly to lead us through the challenging post-COVID period and has been dedicated to engaging with the community through her numerous attendances at functions and events," he said.
Re-elected deputy mayor Cr Justin King thanked the council, emphasising his commitment to the role and support for Cr Claridge.
"I'd like to thank the council for their trust in me to be their deputy for the next 12 months," he said.
"It's an absolute honour. I take the role very seriously and I look forward to supporting the mayor as much as he needs, but also to be there for the councillors and for the community to continue to do great things for the rest of this council term."
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