Area mayors to seek re-election

Several Central Alberta town mayors say they will run for re-election in fall municipal elections.

Several Central Alberta town mayors say they will run for re-election in fall municipal elections.

When Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol was first elected in 1998, the town’s official population was 2,001.

Now, a little more than a decade later, there are 5,600 residents.

Besides seeing the new RCMP building through, and working on field house planning, one of Stol’s priorities for another term as mayor would be getting all those new faces involved in building the community, she said.

“How are we going to get them involved in volunteering, in the public hearings and the political things that happen in Blackfalds,” said Stol.

Rocky Mountain House Mayor Jim Bague has done two terms and says he’s enjoyed every minute of it.

“It’s an interesting time to be in politics,” said Bague, who’s planning on running again. “It’s a different world than it was three years ago, that’s for sure.”

For Bague, “interesting” means having to provide all the same services with no increases made to municipal taxation.

He expects things will get better when the economy improves, but “right now it’s a challenge.”

“We were on the growth curb three years ago. Now it’s plateaued, and we’re hanging in there and learning to live within our means,” he said.

With her family behind her — a prerequisite before even thinking about another run for mayor — Julia King of Penhold is shooting for another term, one in which she hopes to lighten the tax load on residents by attracting commercial and industrial land-users to the area.

In Sylvan Lake, first-time Mayor Susan Samson says she has the time it takes to keep the position, given that she and her husband sold their retail sporting goods business. Now, she has her eyes set on furthering the Lakeshore Drive redevelopment plan and working on initiatives to protect the lake itself.

Mayor Dick Richards of Stettler has only been in the position for a year, and says that when he took the job he promised he would run again in the next municipal election. Plus, Richards says, he’s done all he could do as a councillor and has a vested interest — his children — in making the town the best it can be. Completing upgrades to the regional water treatment plant is the top item on his to-do list.

A former legal assistant to the Olds mayor and CAO, who attended more than 340 council meetings before taking a run at the big chair herself in 2004, Mayor Judy Dahl says one of her main priorities if elected again would be to build up the relationship between the town and Mountain View County.

“Most certainly it has monetary value,” said Dahl. “The whole area surrounding our municipality is county land and we want to make sure we have the proper way of thinking, that we’re all thinking of responsible growth . . .”

Innisfail mayor Ken Graham said he’s “still up in the air” over whether to run again in the fall. The two-term mayor said he was waiting to see who would throw their name in the hat, since if a good replacement could be found, he might step down.

Plans for current mayors in Lacombe and Ponoka and are as yet unknown. Lacombe Mayor Judy Gordon and Ponoka Mayor Larry Henkelman could not be reached for comment.

Nomination day is Monday, Sept. 20. Alberta municipal elections are Monday, Oct. 18. mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com