KEEP the community's best interests at heart — that's the advice to candidates from outgoing Yarra Ranges mayor Graham Warren.
After seven years on council, Cr Warren will not be running in this month's council elections.
"I still have a lot of passion for what I do, but feel I need to move on," Cr Warren said.
"I left my previous job to become mayor full-time and have thoroughly enjoyed serving the community."
Cr Warren hopes this year's candidates — who residents will vote on by Friday, October 26 — will reflect the passion for the community their predecessors have, and has some key advice on running campaigns.
"It's easy to bang on about rates, but it is nonsensical to do that. In the end everyone would love to pay less rates but, given the size of our shire with the number of roads and bridges and paths, that's not always possible.
"We're already in budget deficit, so I would hope as we enter this year's election there is a mature debate surrounding this."
Cr Warren, who will most likely re-enter a management role in construction, left a parting message for those entering this year's election.
"I wish everyone luck, and hope they realise the importance of representing their local community."
Cr Warren's departure leaves an opening in Chandler Ward, with three candidates vying for the spot — John Nieman, Sue McMurdie and Jason Callanan.
Vacancies have also been left in O'Shannassy Ward and Ryrie Ward by councillors Chris Templar and Jeanette McRae respectively. Three candidates will contest O'Shannassy, including former councillor Jim Child. Ryrie has the biggest field of contenders, with 12 candidates in the fray.
Billanook Ward will have the second-largest race, with incumbent councillor Tim Heenan set to defend his seat against nine other hopefuls.
Chirnside, Lyster, Streeton and Walling wards have the smallest fields with all four incumbents running against just one other candidate each. Melba Ward councillor Terry Avery will contest his seat against two others.
Voting in the election will be by postal ballot. Residents will receive their ballot packs in the next week or so and must return them by October 26. All votes will then be counted on October 27.