FORMER long-serving mayor John Dal Broi is poised to be swept back into the city's top job, four years after announcing his retirement.
But despite Mr Dal Broi attracting almost a quarter of the mayoral and councillor votes, preferences are still a chance of lifting incumbent mayor Mike Neville or second-term councillor Bill Lancaster into the top position.
The final result will not be known until mid-week.
All eight sitting councillors seeking re-election are likely to be returned to the chamber, with the next three highest primary votes going to newcomers Paul Rossetto (4.55 per cent), Harnek Dhanoa (3.14 per cent) and Brian Hopper (2.79 per cent).
When last elected as mayor in-house, Mr Dal Broi famously referred to himself as a "phoenix rising from the ashes".
Yesterday he told The Area News the result remained too close to call but he was "humbled" with the support he had received from the community.
"I'm humbled because I have been out of the system for four years and a little bit of nastiness crept into the campaign," Mr Dal Broi said.
"All in all I am extremely happy with the primary vote - the reaction was good at the polling places and I was starting to get a good feeling about it.
"I was a little surprised because it was the reverse situation to when I last stood eight years ago. In that election Michael (Neville) outpolled me in primary votes and this time I've outpolled him."
Yesterday afternoon, Mr Dal Broi was only 4 per cent ahead of Mr Neville in the mayoral vote, with Mr Lancaster trailing by less than 7 per cent.
The councillor vote was much closer, with five candidates polling below 3 per cent.
Only four candidates will miss out on a position on council.
Mr Dal Broi said he would be watching the preference count "with interest" to see who would be joining him in the chambers.
"I look forward to seeing how it all pans out," he said.
"I hope I have got enough of a head start to win the mayoral vote and it looks like I'll definitely be on council, at least.
"You never know what can happen with the way this preferential system works."
Of the 13,000 locals who voted in the election, more than 3500 took advantage of pre-polling.
More than 10 per cent of the community placed informal votes in the councillor election, while only 2.83 per cent of mayoral ballots were completed incorrectly.
For more election news, visit The Area News's election portal.