Ray Stevens has been a Whanganui District councillor for 19 years - now he wants a crack at the top job.

Mr Stevens will stand for mayor, council and district health board at the October 8 local government elections.

This will be the third time Mr Stevens has contested the mayoralty.

"I'm standing because I like to make a difference. I'm a community man. I'm a problem solver and I love solving problems for people in the community."

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When he is not busy with council duties, Mr Stevens runs SS Motordrome in Westmere.

He said council needs to "go back to the basics", particularly in regards to infrastructure.

"I believe there are huge savings to be made - and we do need to make savings.

"There are a couple of major projects - for example, the Sarjeant Gallery and the Velodrome - and they shouldn't go ahead without the funding totally in hand. I have no problem with supporting them, but they shouldn't burden the ratepayers," Mr Stevens said.

He would also like to make changes to the way council meetings are run.

"We had meetings and workshops but nothing to expand on from that. We have to go back to a committee structure. Everything is crammed into one meeting a month.

"There's no opportunity to engage with the public during those meetings, and I'd like to change that," Mr Stevens said.