FORMER mayor Barry Lyons is launching a bid to return to the council table after four years.
The two-term councillor said helping small businesses and the community through COVID-19 and its aftermath would be a priority if elected.
"We will need to have fair, balanced and careful management at the top," he said.
The next four years would be a critical period for Greater Bendigo, Mr Lyons said.
The pandemic underscored the need for ratepayer's money to be used wisely, he said.
"We will need to concentrate on keeping things steady."
Mr Lyons said he would make sure council services were not compromised or reduced.
"We have more than 100 council services and they are fantastic. They are among the best in Australia," he said.
Mr Lyons would also like to see a greater focus on regional areas of greater Bendigo, which he said could do with more attention.
He would represent the Lockwood ward covers a number of regional areas from Leichhardt south to Shelbourne and east to Sedgwick.
However, Mr Lyons said attention should be paid to other towns and rural areas throughout Greater Bendigo, including Axedale, Heathcote and Goornong.
He said the next term would be a good time to do that, given a number of major works within the city centre and major suburbs had been completed over the past decade.
Mr Lyons noted the city centre is already going to see major change over the next four years as a swathe of projects are built with the backing of private groups, as well as the state and federal governments.
They include a state government built GovHub office complex, new law courts and, potentially, a number of privately owned multi-storey hotels.
Mr Lyons said the council should have a plan ready for the city centre once those projects are completed, and that it should be prepared by the end of the next council term.
Mr Lyons currently works for Priority1 Property and has 40 years experience in Bendigo's hospitality scene, including at a number of pubs.
He was first elected to the city's council in 2008 to represent what was then the Kangaroo Flat ward.
He was reelected in 2012 to the Lockwood Ward and served as mayor in 2013/14.
Mr Lyons ran for the same ward in 2016 and received 9.78 per cent of the vote in the 12-way contest.
He had the fourth-most votes behind successful candidates Rod Fyffe and Matt Emond, as well as Elise Chapman, another councillor who did not win back a seat at that election.
Successful candidate Jennifer Alden received 8.86 per cent of the vote and took the third Lockwood council seat after preferences were distributed.
Cr Alden and Cr Fyffe are among those running for the Lockwood Ward in 2020.
Other candidates include Vyonne McLelland-Howe, Nathan Rogers and John Cooper.