Local government in Victoria
Local government in the Australian state of Victoria consists of 79 local government areas (LGAs). Also referred to as municipalities, Victorian LGAs are classified as cities (34), shires (38), rural cities (6) and boroughs (1). In general, an urban or suburban LGA is called a city and is governed by a City Council, while a rural LGA covering a larger rural area is usually called a shire and is governed by a Shire Council. Local councils have the same administrative functions and similar political structures, regardless of their classification. They will typically have an elected council and usually a mayor or shire president responsible for chairing meetings of the council. The City of Melbourne has a Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor, who are directly elected, and in the other councils a mayor and deputy mayor are elected by fellow Councillors from among their own number. Since 2017, the mayor of the City of Greater Geelong has not been directly elected. In addition, there are also 10 unincorporated areas, consisting of small islands or ski resorts, which are administered either by the state government or management boards.
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Council elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in October. The last council elections were held on 22 October 2016. Election was not held for the City of Greater Geelong, which was under administration until council elections were held on 27 October 2017. In 2016, 637 local Councillors were elected in the 78 Councils contested. Casual vacancies of councilors are filled by countback of the last ballots, except for the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, which is filled by a by-election.