2019 has raced by and we now find ourselves only a few days away from Christmas. As a council and at a personal level, like many of you, I look back over the 2019 year with a strong sense of achievement and pride. For me, the opening of the new council residential subdivision and the $9.6 million funding announcement for the sealing of SH43 were the undoubted council highlights. Both will provide many substantial benefits for this District.

And after 10 years in the role, being re-elected as Mayor was also a very gratifying and humbling experience. Having the mandate of the community is a very special feeling and an encouragement we are heading in the right direction, as we move forward into a very busy year ahead.

As Mayor I am privileged to work with many organisations and people who share a common pride in the district we live in. It never fails to amaze me how dedicated, supportive and passionate people are about our community.

Christmas is a time for giving and fun, but we should still take time to think of those families who are in need and find life in general a real struggle. Those who are less fortunate than many of us, really do appreciate the support from the broader community. As always the Mayoral Xmas gift appeal has been very well supported and we are grateful to those who have donated cash or gifts. This week we have the pleasurable job of distributing the gifts to local families in need.

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Once again the Stratford volunteer community has continued to be extremely generous and supportive of each other and I thank the large number of volunteers who have given up their personal time to participate in sport, clubs, organisations and services. You are great examples of giving in a really meaningful way.

I express my special thanks to the many people in our community who in different ways, assist me in my role as District Mayor. On behalf of Debbie and myself, have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.