By Tim Kalinowski on September 21, 2021.
Nominations closed for city council on Monday with some familiar faces seeking re-election, and some old faces departing.
Councillors Belinda Crowson, Mark Campbell, Jeffrey Carlson and Ryan Parker confirmed their desire to run for council again at city hall on Monday.
Crowson said it was unfinished business that was bringing her back to seek re-election for another term after four years of rapid transformation and change in city government.
“I never expected when I was elected I would have five city managers I would work with, and so much of the time would be in hiring city managers, and doing the internal work of governance, etc.,” she said. “So a lot of the public ideas I had, we just never got around to. I would love to have the time to move a lot of those ideas forward, and to bring some new ideas into Lethbridge.”
Carlson was first elected in 2007 and just completed his fourth term on city council. Carlson told The Herald on Monday after filing his nomination papers that he still has a passion for governance.
“It’s always a decision point whether you should or shouldn’t continue to serve,” he said. “This was a bit of tumultuous time, and I think council got a bit derailed because of COVID, because of other things. So there is still a lot of other things on my mind we need to move forward with, and I would like to be there to continue to further those candidates.”
Another familiar face, former mayor Rajko Dodic, who was publicly supported by former mayor DavidÂ Carpenter while filing his papers on Monday, said he decided to run as a councillor this time around because he was concerned about the City’s growing debt over the past 11 years.
“Historically, (former mayor) David Carpenter decades ago came up with a policy to eliminate tax-supported debt,” explained Dodic. “That policy was bought into by his council. Then Mayor Tarleck came in with his council and during my council we took the position that for community projects we know there is a lot of wants. There is actually a lot of needs. But we didn’t just end it there; we wanted to know if you can actually afford it. And by affording a community project, we are saying: no tax-supported debt. Shortly after this new council came in, they built the full build out on the westside complex (ATB Centre), but that required $54 million in tax-supported debt.Â
“So if you go back and look at the difference between what tax-supported debt was now, and what it was then: then it was zero.”
At the close of nominations at noon there were 32 city council candidates, six mayoral candidates, 16 trustee candidates for public school board and 11 trustee candidates for separate school board. (The complete list is available on the City website).
One notable name that did not appear among those 32 city council candidates was Coun. Joe Mauro. The City Clerk’s office confirmed Mauro had not filed any nomination papers, and will not be seeking re-election.
Mauro joins Mayor Chris Spearman and Councillors Rob Miyashiro and Jeffrey Coffman in retiring from city politics at the end of this term. Coun. Blaine Hyggen also resigns his council seat at the end of term as he seeks to become the new mayor.Â
That means there is four vacant council seats coming into next month’s election on Oct. 18.
While no other candidates can now file to run for election in October, current candidates will have until noon today to withdraw their nominations if they so choose.
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