There are 14 Pictou County residents running for mayor in the 2016 municipal election: three new faces each in Pictou and Trenton, four new people are offering in New Glasgow, Stellarton’s incumbent mayor is facing off against one newcomer and in Westville, the incumbent mayor has two challengers.
In the lead up to the election, The Advocate has reached out to the mayoral candidates in each town asking several questions that have been on the minds of voters.
Here are their responses…
ROGER MACKAY, Westville
What compelled you to run as mayor of your community?
I am a lifelong resident of Westville, and live on Church Street with my wife Jessie. We have two grown sons, Brandon and Zachary, and I have been employed by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation for the past 36 years. First elected as a town councillor, I have been honoured to serve as mayor since 2008. I have been involved in the Westville Fire Department as well as my local church as an elder. I want to ensure Westville continues to be the best place to work, live and raise a family.
What do you feel are the three main priorities your town is facing?
Over the past eight years as mayor with the support of council, I have worked hard to deliver important capital investments, a stable tax rate and a growing commercial tax base while always keeping the respect for tax dollars my top priority. I believe there is more work to be done, and with the support of the people of Westville, I would like to continue this important work.
What are the future prospects of your town?
While Westville faces challenges I believe we are turning the corner. If re-elected I will continue to focus on creating the economic conditions to attract business and grow the economy. With a strong and vibrant commercial and residential sector, council will have the revenue necessary to lower taxes, invest in roads and infrastructure and secure Westville’s future as the best place to live in Pictou County!
What do you feel the future of “amalgamation/shared services” is for the community?
To be clear, I am not against amalgamation or working with our neighbours, but the MOU proposal that was presented to us was not in Westville’s best interests and I was elected to represent the best interests of our citizens. Any time I can find ways to save tax dollars, find efficiencies or provide better services to our residents I will support it, but it has to make fiscal sense for our citizens.
How do you think you can better/improve the town?
Over the past four years we have worked hard to improve the economic environment in Westville by attracting business and tax revenue to our town. While we have more work to do, we are starting to see results. Our finances are slowly but surely improving, we have not raised the residential or commercial tax rate, and we have made important investments in our town that we can fiscally afford. This year, we have developed a five-year plan to move Westville forward both by investing in new infrastructure and investing in our future and I would be honoured to be involved in bringing this plan to fruition.
What would you do differently?
If having the honour of being re-elected, I believe that it is important to (continue) on the positive, productive path we are currently taking to secure Westville’s future. I will also continue to be open, honest, and approachable, and will always spend taxpayer dollars with respect. Change takes time, and projects do not happen overnight. We cannot improve everything right away, nor can we fix all our challenges with the swipe of a pen, but improvements are taking place and I am proud of our town and proud of my record.