THE race to be Griffith’s second popularly elected mayor is heating up, with a third candidate throwing his hat into the ring.
Veteran councillor Dino Zappacosta has announced he will take on former mayor John Dal Broi and fellow councillor Allan Bennett for the city’s highest honour in the September 8 election.
Councillor Zappacosta has served on council for 25 consecutive years, two as mayor and 10 as deputy mayor.
The 68-year-old was last elected as mayor by his peers in 2007.
He was criticised for leading a divided council, but celebrated for his leadership following the death of a Rankins Springs teen in the main street.
“I have always found being on council very challenging, but also immensely inspiring and satisfying,” Cr Zappacosta said.
“I feel I have the experience to lead council for four years – I am passionate and dedicated to this community and I feel I am the best ambassador to represent the city.”
Cr Zappacosta said he would aim to improve the image of Griffith and expand the city’s diversity and potential wealth.
But his true passion was finding a solution to the region’s water woes, a goal he has progressed through the formation of a council committee to investigate building more dams across the state.
Cr Zappacosta will run on a ticket with first-time candidate Rina Mercuri, who has been heavily involved in Griffith’s Festival of Gardens for many years.
Mrs Mercuri said she had been considering running for council for “quite a long time” but the sale of council’s Railway Street block motivated her to take action immediately.
“I am totally against the sale, no businessperson would ever sell such an important asset at a loss,” Mrs Mercuri
“There are quite a few issues I can see in the city. There’s not enough development or industry and the water issue is close to my heart.
“Our farmers are doing it tough and, without farmers, we don’t have a town.”