Poole to be new mayor of Blackfalds
Richard Poole will succeed Melodie Stol as mayor of the Town of Blackfalds. Here, he is pictured in Council Chambers at the Blackfalds Civic Centre on Sept. 12, 2017 where he announced he would be running for the mayor's chair. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
In the end, the Town of Blackfalds opted for the more experienced candidate to lead them through the next four years.
Richard Poole, who has served Blackfalds as councillor for the past 19 years was elected mayor on Monday, defeating Gary Smith with 863 votes to 215.
He first announced his intention to run the night now former mayor Melodie Stol decided not to seek re-election.
“I am very excited and very happy, but even more so I’m really honoured the community of Blackfalds has given me this opportunity,” said Poole.
“I appreciate Gary Smith putting his name forward and I think different points of view allowed the folks in Blackfalds to make their decision.”
The first priority for him - and many other councils throughout the province - will be the 2018 budget deliberations, as well as pulling together a team of new and returning councillors.
“It looks like a very strong council moving forward. I’m looking forward to working with them and I think council has every opportunity to do a wonderful job,” he said.
“We’ll have to make sure everybody is really on stream and understanding what the (budget) process is about. From there, it’s a matter of continuing on with our goals outlined in the municipal sustainability plan and continuing to work towards those goals over the next four years.”
Poole will have two incumbent councillors at the table with him, including Ray Olfert, who narrowly beat Nicole Sutherland by four votes for the final seat on council, and Will Taylor, who was second only to Laura Svab with 672 votes.
Svab herself was the only candidate, aside from Mayor-elect Poole, to top 700 with 708.
Also elected was Jamie Hoover (489), Marina Appel (476) and Rebecca Stendie (472).
Karen Sernecky (438), Wayne Tutty (366), Vince Wolfe (339), Carol Rosenfelt (202), Jennifer Myslicki (193) and Mike Francis (161) also ran.
It was the first election in two terms where voters were able to vote for councillor candidates. However, that change did little to motivate those eligible to cast ballots.
According to Returning Officer Betty Quinlan, just 937 of 6,281 eligible voters cast ballots for 14.92 per cent. In 2013, 16.79 per cent of voters turned out to elect only a mayor - 769 of 4,579 eligible voters cast ballots.