UPDATE: Loft celebrates and makes plans for next four years
UPDATE 1.15PM: INCOMING mayor Chris Loft is already making plans for the future of the region despite only being declared as the election winner on this morning.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland officially announced Cr Loft had defeated incumbent Gerard O'Connell on their website.
Counting is still continuing to distribute preferences but the election result is considered definite.
Cr Loft said he was excited by the news and looking forward to the next four years.
"I just have to continue celebrating patience over the next few days while the other councillors and divisions all get declared," he said.
The division three councillor will not be sworn in as mayor until all divisions are declared.
This could be some time as divisions two and six are still too close to call.
Nevertheless, Cr Loft is not sitting around twiddling his thumbs.
The incoming mayor is arranging an induction and buddy system to help the newly elected councillors.
But, as far as policy decisions, he does has his first step in mind - conducting an audit on council finances.
"That will happen as quickly as we can," he said.
Cr Loft said his first moves would be to ensure council processes and business practices were working correctly.
Among those changes would be to implement a hotline number, direct to him, where he can take calls on business ideas to the region.
Cr Loft said he was positive about the next four years.
"I know that we live in a great region and I know that we can perform better than we have in the past," he said.
He also promised to keep rate rises to the same as the consumer price index.
UPDATE 12.30PM: PAUL Truscott was declared the incoming division three councillor on Monday morning.
The incoming councillor was announced about 11.30am.
Mr Truscott told the Chronicle he was elated and humbled by the result.
"I am really looking forward to being able to start making a difference on the Fraser Coast,' he said.
Mr Truscott will replace incoming mayor Chris Loft in the division.
"He has been elected and we are going to work as a team to make this region a great place," he said.
Mr Truscott secured 46% of the vote compared to nearest challenger Mark Williams who took about 36%.
Gary Gilbert on 12% and Michael Tudman on 6% rounded out the field.
Division seven councillor Darren Everard was also declared as the winner on Monday afternoon.
Two other divisions were declared on Friday with division one councillor James Hansen and division five councillor Rolf Light both retaining their division.
UPDATE MIDDAY: THE final margin between incoming mayor Chris Loft and incumbent Gerard O'Connell will not be known for a few days.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland officially announced Cr Loft as winner on Monday morning despite counting and the distribution of preferences continuing.
An ECQ spokesman said the preference count would be made public once counting was finalised.
"We have declared the result, meaning the outcome is now certain but we have not finished counting all the votes yet," he said.
Divisions two and six both still remain too close to call.
Counting is continuing today.
UPDATE 11.15AM: OUTGOING mayor Gerard O'Connell has congratulated Chris Loft on his victory in the 2016 Fraser Coast Regional Council election.
Cr Loft was officially declared winner by the Electoral Commission of Queensland on Monday morning.
Cr O'Connell said he called Cr Loft to concede on Sunday night after speaking to the ECQ returning officer about the latest results.
He said the conversation with Cr Loft had been cordial.
"I also said if there is anything I could be of assistance with to give me call," Cr O'Connell said.
The one-term mayor is making preparations to leave office.
"This morning I am doing the tidying up," he said.
Cr O'Connell said he had no concrete plans for the future but hopes to continue to be involved in the community.
He remains positive about the future of the region.
"One of our greatest assets is a large number of community-minded, highly skilled people," Cr O'Connell said.
"I think working together the future of the Fraser Coast if very bright.
"It's a great place for families and a great place to invest."
Cr O'Connell thanked all the staff at the council for their hard work over the past four years.
He also thanked his family for their sacrifices throughout the years.
EARLIER: CHRIS Loft is officially the new mayor of the Fraser Coast.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland officially declared Cr Loft as the new mayor on Monday morning.
Cr Loft had 19,640 votes compared to incumbent Gerard O'Connell's 18,254.
More to come...