It was a gracious mayor-elect who spoke to his throng of supporters once the municipal election 2016 votes were tallied.
“Today has been one heck of an exciting day for us,” a jubilant Gerald Aalbers told a packed house Wednesday night at the Legacy Centre’s boardroom.
“I would also like to say thank you to the other candidates that ran for mayor and council in our city,” he said, noting he thought the race would be closer than it was.
“When you run against an individuals, in the case of Jason (Whiting) and Cheryl (Ross) who have been here a long time, you don’t take anything for granted. Those people gave their hearts and souls for the last 45 days or so and I can’t say thank you enough because I didn’t realize what it was like until I tried it.”
Aalbers won in a landslide—that saw 30 per cent of the electorate turn out, a vast improvement over the 10 per cent who voted in 2012—and received 4,081 votes, while his closest competitor, Whiting, saw just 1,791.
Ross, the third mayoral candidate, saw 207 voters cast their ballots her way.
Whiting—who was celebrating his 36th birthday Wednesday— was also gracious upon learning the results of the election.
“Unfortunately I won’t be your mayor,” he told his supporters, who gathered at The Root.
“Again I thank you for all that you have done and everything that you have continued to do for our community,” he said.
“It’s been a fantastic journey going this far and I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me up to here and I wish everybody the best.”
Meanwhile, Aalbers made it clear he would take command as soon as possible to try and get both provinces onside with the new council.
“I hope administration has a plan for transition and then we’ll take it from there and try and hit with feet running,” he said. “I believe it’ll be official on Nov. 7 and ... I’ve got some people I’ll be reaching out to very shortly at the provincial and federal levels.”
Aalbers said Lloydminster “needs to start building those relationships and rebuilding those relationships right to the prime minister.”
The mayor elect also noted he would have to take a hard line with budget matters, considering the council will inherit a $10.5 million deficit.
“I think anyone understanding math knows there may be some cuts … we’ll do the best we can do with what we’ve got to work with and a lot of things will be under examination and at the end of the day, people deserve and they want (such as) water, sewer, roads and protective services,” he said.
“So that’s what we need to get our core in order, then we build on that.”
That doesn’t mean a hack and slash budget, Aalbers added.
“Don’t think I’m going to close arenas or close the library, we’re going to look for efficiencies. There’s no question we have to look for efficiencies greater than ever if we’re going to make this happen.”
In addition to a new mayor, the Border City will also sport an almost new council—only Coun. Ken Baker will return for another term.
He will be joined by Jonathan Torresan, Michael Diachuk, Glenn Fagnan, Aaron Buckingham, and Stephanie Brown Munro.
There's a new mayor in town
October 27, 2016 1:13 PM
Mayor elect Gerald Aalbers addresses his supporters after winning the race
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