A decision by the state government to postpone the local government elections for 12 months will provide stability in a time of crisis, according to the city's mayor.
The state's local government minister Shelley Hancock elected to postpone all local government elections for 12 months on March 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic after the passage of emergency laws through state parliament granted her the power to defer elections.
Mrs Hancock said the decision was a "regrettable" one but one necessary to ensure the safety of voters, candidates and NSW Electoral Commission staff.
"Local government elections are a vital part of the democratic process, ensuring local councils are accountable to their local communities," Mrs Hancock said.
"This decision provides certainty for local councils, communities and election candidates.
"The decision to postpone them has not been taken lightly."
The postponement means the Griffith City Council election, which was earmarked for September 12, has been pushed back a year.
As a result, all councillors will maintain their civic offices for another year before voters are due to go to the polls in September 2021.
As of March 18, only one community member not on council had registered with the NSW Electoral Commission to contest the September elections, with Ricky Chugha announcing his intention to run in January.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi will also maintain the office of mayor for another year under the changes, as the council operates under a popularly-elected mayoral position.
Deputy mayor Doug Curran had announced plans to run for the top job earlier in the month.
Councillor Dal Broi said the postponement will provide much needed "continuity" to the decision-making process at a time of crisis.
"Councils will be placed in some financial stress," Cr Dal Broi said.
"Some councils may have to operate in an insolvent manner ... continuity is needed at those councils at the moment.
"All [Griffith] councillors are familiar with how council operates ... it comes back to continuity, they know all the issues and the ramifications."
Cr Dal Broi said the postponement of the election will also allow funds to be freed up and potentially allow for council to look at methods of dealing with the impact of coronavirus.
"Just running an election for us will cost $250,000," Cr Dal Broi said.
"We can really use some of that to support some of our own ratepayers ... we don't want to see anyone fall through the cracks."
The postponement will not change the date of the following election, with local government elections due to go ahead in September 2024.
Local Government NSW president Linda Scott welcomed the move to postpone elections and said the move will allow for stability in a time of crisis.
"Councils are the closest level of government to the community, and we are only too aware of the need to keep our communities safe and healthy," Councillor Scott said.
"Mayors and councillors are working hard to ensure good governance continues during the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so.
"When asked to serve for an additional year, I'm confident mayors and councillors will understand the need to provide stability and continuity of governance."
The postponement of elections will also have implications for council's activities under the current and next integrated planning and reporting cycle, with the state's Office of Local Government seeking to extend the current cycle for another 12 months, with a shorter three year cycle to follow afterwards.