It’s a little of the old and a lot of the new when it comes to the look of Ponoka town council for the next four years.
Incumbent Rick Bonnett held onto the mayor’s chair by garnering 1,352 votes, more than double the 613 handed to challenger, and former mayor, Larry Henkelman. Four years ago, Bonnett grabbed the mayor’s seat by just a single vote over Doug Gill. At that time Bonnett received 960 votes.
“Well, I didn’t win by one so it’s a big year for me I guess,” said Bonnett minutes after the results were announced.
“I’m glad the people resonated with the things that we are starting to do and the progress we are making.”
Bonnett addressed those that didn’t vote for him and the fear of future taxes increases he heard about.
“We are always going to have tax increases, but we definitely want to keep them to manageable levels. With the new council, we will make sure that we are managing our budget and managing the accountability of our staff as we go forward,” he stated.
“It’s a humbling ‘Thank you’ being given a second term. We still have got a lot of work to do and I appreciate the support the residents of Ponoka have given me.”
He looks forward to the future with this new council.
“I think they are all committed to making the town the best possible place that Ponoka can be and I look forward to the next four years.”
Three and Three
The councillor positions were split equally between incumbents and newcomers.
Carla Prediger (1,391), Teri Underhill (1,129) and Sandra Lyon (799) got their seats on council back, while the lone incumbent left out was Marc Yaworski (568).
Meanwhile retired school teacher Kevin Ferguson grabbed the most votes of any candidate with 1,537. He will be joined by Ted Dillon (1,476) and Clayton Nelson (899).
The rest of the contenders were Adria Perepelitza (489), Curtis Jacobson (469), Greg Nelson (428), Edwin Geuder (293) and David McPherson (211).
Ferguson was still in a bit of shock at the results and hopes he can live up to people’s expectations as well as keep on listening to residents.
“I’m hoping as a councillor that is how I will conduct myself — that I get out and make sure I talk to the people whose lives are affected by the decisions I have to make,” said Ferguson.
Prediger was the top vote getter among the incumbents and was very pleased with the outcome. She’s ready to get to work and is pleased with the new council.
However, she believes with half the councillors being first timers, there will need to be some support provided.
“I think the biggest thing this time is mentorship. I don’t know if we felt we were supported the last time,” she stated.
“But we also have got some pretty solid leadership with our administration this time, so that plays a big part.”
Overall, the voter turnout was slightly less than in 2013, with 2,021 people casting ballots of the approximately 5,500 eligible voters — 400 of those participated in the advance poll. About 36.7 per cent of the eligible voters in town turned out compared to the 38 per cent four years ago.
With the results being unofficial until Friday at noon, and pending any recounts, the new council will be sworn in at it’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Kinsmen Community Centre.
The meeting and swearing in is open to the public.