NEW Tavistock mayor Paul Ward has warned his council colleagues that they face an uncertain future during his term of office.

He was elected to the role for a second time — his first term as mayor was in 2018 ­— after last year’s mayor Andy Hutton stood down at council’s annual meeting.

Cllr Hutton ended his year-long stay in the council’s top seat with the presentation of a cheque for £773 for the Mary Budding Trust, a charity which helps youngsters with educational or other needs.

Cllr Ward began his term in office with the observation that money — or more precisely a lack of it — could be one of the issues facing the town council during his term of office.

Councillors have already been told that they are being hit with extra bills which could be as much as £100,000, which have not been budgeted for, because of rising insurance and energy costs.

And Cllr Ward, while acknowledging he was honoured to be chosen as town mayor, spelled out that could mean a difficult year ahead for the council.

He said: ‘I wasn’t expecting to be sitting in this (chairman’s) seat quite so soon, but it is an honour to have a second term.’

He said that over the past two to three years, the council had been facing problems which it had not had to face before and with good leadership and the support of staff and councillors, the authority had come through them, although he added that their challenges were not over yet and: ‘We don’t know what challenges will come in the next 12 months’.

Cllr Ward said: ‘The pandemic is receding into the past, but it’s still there and who knows what it’s going to do?’

However, the new mayor, on an upbeat note, said although the council also faced financial challenges and the fall out from the Ukrainian war, townspeople were rising to the challenge.

Referring to the way Tavistock had welcomed Ukrainian refugees with open arms and offered them temporary homes, Cllr Ward said: ‘It is a fine town. People have rallied to the challenge, exemplified by (last year’s mayor) Andy Hutton and his wife Sue, who have taken responsibility for a Ukrainian family.’

And he said, while he personally would serve the town to the best of his ability, he knew the council would rise to any challenges thrown at them in the next 12 months.

Cllr Ward will be working in tandem with new deputy mayor James Ellis, who takes over from Cllr Ursula Mann. Former Royal Marine Cllr Ellis, the youngest member of the council, thanked his colleagues for their faith in him.