GRIFFITH voters will head to the polls tomorrow in what shapes as the most absorbing local election battle in decades.
Sixteen candidates will fight for 11 positions on council, while nine are in the hunt for the coveted position of popularly elected mayor.
Former councillor John Bonetti, who served for seven years, has labelled the battle for the mayoral chains "too close to call", predicting incumbent mayor Mike Neville and former leader John Dal Broi would be the ones to beat.
He said the election had offered a "limited choice" of well-credentialed candidates.
"We need more of an emphasis on young people but because of the pressures of life - kids, mortgages, running a farm - it makes it too hard," Mr Bonetti said.
"I really think the mayoral election is a two-horse race. John (Dal Broi) and Mike (Neville) are both long-serving councillors and while they come in with a bit of baggage, they have high profiles and are seen as capable."
Councillors Allan Bennett, Dino Zappacosta, Anne Napoli, Simon Croce and Bill Lancaster will also be vying for the city's top job, alongside newcomers Lance Perry and Leon Thorpe.
Jock Donaldson, a former councillor of more than four years, insisted some of the contenders could not be written off.
"I don't think the mayoral vote is a two-horse race. There are a couple of others (outside of Dal Broi and Neville) with the right mix of skills and experience," Mr Donaldson said.
The election campaign has been punctuated by calls for greater accountability, generational change and the breaking down of factions within council.
But Mr Bonetti believed the latter would never be fulfilled.
"There will always be factions in council," he said.
"I went in as an independent but you do end up voting with the same people.
"Once you get into the system it's very difficult to avoid."
While few candidates have declared an official platform for the election, the big issues have been council's financial position, the sale of public land on Railway Street and flood mitigation for Yenda.