Powys County Council elects first woman leader
Powys County Council has elected its first woman leader today.
Independent leader Rosemarie Harris was the only nomination for the position, receiving 49 votes in favour, with one against, one spoiled ballot and 20 abstentions.
At the first full meeting of the new council, she said she hoped to put Powys "more on the Welsh stage" but warned of further budget cuts.
She said: ""I recognise the challenge that we all face. We've had to take a lot of money out of the budget in the last few years and austerity is still with us so there will be more to take.
"But there are tremendous opportunities available, all we need to do is grasp them."
Councillor Harris said the authority is "slightly" going down the commercial route, having bought Ladywell House in Newtown, and part of it will be rented out.
She also said with the Right to Buy scheme suspended, there will be a "wonderful opportunity" to build homes in the county – the first council homes to be built in 40 years, according to the new leader.
Councillor Harris, who represents the Llangynidr ward, said: "We have so much to offer in this county."
She also made the announcement that Powys County Council is to run as a coalition administration between the Independents and Conservatives.
She said: "I look forward to working as a team, all of us. I know by the nature of politics there will be an executive group and opposition.
"We can work in cooperation, collaboration, coalition. Whatever you call it."
The previous leader of the authority was Councillor Barry Thomas, who announced he was standing down prior to the council election.
Meanwhile Councillor Dai Davies, who represents Berriew, was elected as the council's new chair, succeeding retiring chair Keith Tampin.