It’s over. The (unofficial at press time) results are in and the 3425 people who voted have decided that Bill Elliot will serve as Mayor for the new 4 year term. Elliot defeated McFaul with 1867 votes compared to McFaul’s, 1486. Elliot, along with the following 6 aldermen have been granted the opportunity to ‘shape’ the future of Wetaskiwin during the next 4 years:
1. Tyler Gandam – 2091
2. Wayne Neilson – 1909
3. Bert Horvey – 1487
4. P. MacQuarrie – 1464
5. Joe Branco – 1448
6. June Boyda – 1293
June Boyda, tied with Alan Hilgartner (1292), was chosen as the 6th Alderman by ‘Random Draw’ at approximately 10:25 pm, October 21st.
The other candidates were: Carol Anderson (1238), Glenn Reucker (1094), John Goofers (868), Jason Wright (867), Kathy Wiebe (863), Robert Fornelli (627), Dale Crabtree (448 – note: Crabtree had withdrawn from the election but his name remained on the ballot) and Bill McCoy (396).
Prior to voting day, each of the candidates was asked by the Pipestone Flyer to respond to a series of questions. The following are the responses to 2 of the questions – (1)What is the biggest issue facing the new Council and (2) what 2 skills do you possess that would help Council resolve that issue. Let’s see what they said.
The biggest issue has been a divided Council.
I will use all my experience and listening skills to get all of Council working together for the betterment of all citizens. Having and following a strategic plan(that everyone agrees with) will provide Council and staff with direction for future planning and budgeting.
Sustainability is of paramount importance. The decisions that are made need to be manageable into the future. If infrastructure projects are completed, not only does the initial construction need to be considered, but also operational and maintenance of those items.
I have strong financial skills and have completed over a decade of experience and University education to become a professionally certified local government manager (CLGM), which allows me to be able to both see the long-term implications of decisions, as well as to be able to offer alternative solutions, which may not have been previously considered.
No response to questions.
I feel the biggest issue for the new Council will be gaining the trust and support back from the city. The split between the current Council members gave the impression that the best interest of the city was not the number one priority.
Two skills I possess that would help resolve that issue would be my ability to work in a team setting toward a common goal. I’ve played sports my whole life that requires teamwork as well as 12 years on the fire department that requires a high level of team work. Another skill I have is the ability to talk things through. Working with a Council as well as the city to regain that trust. Taking the concerns of the residents and business owners back to council so we can get back on track.
I believe in a fiscally responsible government, respectful debate and a well balanced strategic road map. I envision a safe, bully-free community with a vibrant business atmosphere, employment opportunities, education, recreation, personal care and an outlook open to ideas we have not thought of yet.
The biggest issue facing Council is finding appropriate sustainable funding for major projects and ensuring proper reserve funds are in place to avoid the types of tax hikes that we have seen in recent years.
To solve these issues, I plan on being diligent with budgeting and strategic planning so as to prepare Wetaskiwin for future generations, not look at each year as independent and without consideration for the future
Financial – It is imperative that the debt is reduced through a strong debt reduction plan to ensure that City resources are used to maximize benefit to the community instead of using those resources to service debt.
I believe I have strong financial management and strategic planning skills.
New faces on Council will mean a new team?
It is refreshing to see new faces on Council who have displayed a passion for the future development of Wetaskiwin. The issues have been identified and the skills to resolve the issues have been identified. Over the next 4 years these 7 individuals will be evaluated against many existing and undoubtedly, many new challenges. Will Mayor Elliot be able to bring this group together to work as a team? Will they agree to, and achieve a common goal or will Council, once again divide into 2 camps. Will a new business vision evolve to lever the Aquatic Centre and Main Street into more business and industry for Wetaskiwin?
It’s imperative that Council let go of the poor business decisions that have transpired in the past and work as a cohesive group to begin the long and arduous journey taking Wetaskiwin into the future. As said in the election forum: Council must commit to working together as a team to make decisions that are best for Wetaskiwin; We need to get our fiscal operation under control; Operate within our means; Create a larger tax base; revisit the debt load and develop a debt reduction plan; support local businesses to avoid losing any more”….and the list went on. But they have 4 years to do it.