Michael Hill is again Mayor of Wisbech - and will be joined by Cllr Aigars Balsevics as his deputy
PUBLISHED: 15:53 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 11 May 2019
Five years after he last was elected to the role, Cllr Michael Hill is again mayor of Wisbech.
His appointment was confirmed at Friday's annual meeting of the town council that, by tradition, retains the rest of its business to the following Monday.
Cllr Hill, who can expect, as mayor, to be invited to around 300 functions in the coming 12 months will have as his deputy, Cllr Aigars Balsevics.
Cllr Balsevics first joined the council four years ago after winning a by election in the Staithe ward and 10 days ago was elected a councillor for Waterlees, although he failed to win a district council seat.
He is best known in Wisbech for his support of local festivals and events and last year was among a group of 10 to complete a 13,000ft sky dive to raise funds for a replacement skate park in Edinburgh Drive.
His opportunity to become deputy mayor - and in all probability mayor in 2020/21 - comes after a fellow town councillor and this year's deputy mayor Jess Oliver lost her town council seat.
Cllr Balsevics is well known in the town, running three pubs on behalf of Elgoods: the Angel, The Kings Head and the Three Tuns.
He told Waterlees constituents he wants to see the town "united by a common desire for improvements to our basic services and generating a stronger sense of a united, joint community, embracing all local residents".
His election address focused on issues such as free parking and he recognised that "our local town centre businesses will be hit badly if Fenland District Council introduces charges to park in Wisbech's town centre car parks, as was proposed three years ago".
He promised that would "not support any such proposal if/when brought forward again" and felt local car park charges were "nothing less than a massive counter-productive money-grabbing exercise which will do far more harm than good".
Cllr Balsevics moved to England 15 years ago from Latvia and can speak four languages, including fluent English, and is acknowledged as being a leading figure in helping Eastern Europeans integrate into the town.
Civic guests at mayor making included Richard Barnwell, the vice lord-lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and the High Sheriff, Neil McKittrick.
Other guests included the police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite and civic heads from other local authorities.