Two candidates for mayor in the Town of Battleford have emerged and both have eyes set on moving from a councillor’s seat to the mayor’s chair.
Current councillors David George and Ames Leslie have both entered the race for mayor in the Oct. 26 election. Mayor Derek Mahon announced prior to the nomination period he was not going to return for another term.
George said he made the decision to run after Mahon’s announcement.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with council and when his worship Mahon decided he wasn’t going to run again a couple weeks ago I felt that I would step and try and fill his shoes, which are very big shoes,” he said.
George has lived in Battleford since 1982 and served on council off and on for over 15 years since 1988. His family has ties to the town with his wife being from Battleford and his children and grandchildren living in the city.
Infrastructure and fair taxes are two of his priorities heading into the election.
“If we’re all using it, we all should pay for it and I think everybody’s on line with that. Just don’t tax somebody just because you think you can and if it is essential services, everybody should pay for essential services,” he said.
Leslie is finishing his first term as councillor and after talking with family and friends, he decided to enter the running.
“Being mayor is something that was in my future aspirations and present Mayor Derek Mahon stepping aside completely out of politics presented an opportunity,” he said.
Born and raised in Battleford and being part of the town’s volunteer fire department for 16 years, Leslie felt the open mayor position gives him the chance to make his hometown even better than what it is today.
He said financial prudency is something important to him and the town has a big future ahead through growth or sustainability.
“We need to develop a plan with the town of what, where, when type of thing, almost the five W’s of how we can grow at pace where our tax base is not going to have to go up substantially year by year,” he said. “Make those right decisions about how we can improve our town but keep taxes at a minimal level.”
Both Leslie and George said clearing up the current uncertainty surrounding the post office and discussions with Canada Post about keeping the post office downtown will be a major focus of the new council.
Matt Kelly is battlefordsNOW's town municipal affairs and community reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @mattjkelly2.
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