Categories: City Hall

Election expenses set for release

Elections signs blanketed much of the city during the municipal election last fall.

From self-financing to spending big dollars, St. Albert’s current city council ran the gamut of expenses during October’s municipal election.

Among the three mayoral candidates, Mayor Cathy Heron spent $36,691.88 on her campaign while Cam MacKay spent $24,360.56 and Malcolm Parker spent $13,005.92.

Among the six elected councillors, Ray Watkins spent $16,790.11 on his campaign; Jacquie Hansen spent $7,872.76; Wes Brodhead spent $7,730.84; Natalie Joly spent $4,599.06; and Sheena Hughes spent $4,324.52.

Ken MacKay self-funded his campaign.

Candidates from the 2017 municipal election had until March 1 to file their financial disclosure statements with the city. While most candidates have filed either disclosure statements or a voluntary statement that they self-funded their campaigns, chief legislative officer Chris Belke said the city has yet to receive anything from candidates Shayne Kawalilak, Nestor Petriw, Bob Russell and Leonard Wilkins.

“The four who have not filed, they may be self-funded but we haven’t got anything that tells us one way or the other,” he said.

“If their campaigns were completely self-funded, they’re not required to submit a disclosure statement.”

Alternatively, if they did not self-fund their campaigns, they can file late financial statements within 30 days, as long as they pay a late filing fee of $500.

Aside from Ken MacKay, three other candidates signed voluntary statements that they self-funded their campaigns: Craig Cameron, Gilbert Cantin and Barry Zukewich.

MacKay said although self-funding the campaign cost him more than he had planned, he would do it again.

“For me, it was just a cleaner way of doing it,” he said.

“I didn’t want to tie myself to any particular area. I wanted to say, ‘This is me, this is Ken MacKay’ … and I wanted to make sure it was my campaign and I didn’t have any outside influence.

“I thought it just showed my commitment to my community, that I would fund it myself.”

Expense trends

Along with expense and revenue disclosure, candidates submitted lists of people, organizations and businesses which contributed to their campaigns either through cash or in-kind donations.

The most prolific contributor for campaigns where the candidate got elected was Genstar Development, which donated $1,000 to each mayoral candidate and $500 to several council candidates, including Wes Brodhead, Sheena Hughes and Ray Watkins.

Strata Developments Corporation and Melcor Developments Corporation each donated $500 to Heron and Cam MacKay’s campaigns.

Expenses are similar in range to what candidates spent in 2013. During that mayoral race, former mayor Nolan Crouse spent $42,473.02, while Shelley Biermanski spent $10,347.63.

In 2013, Heron spent $15,957 on her campaign for council, while Wes Brodhead spent $9,567.92 and Sheena Hughes spent $5,196.25.

Campaign surpluses

Six campaigns ran surpluses, ranging from more than $1,300 down to a matter of cents.

Council candidate Jan Butler reported a surplus of $0.57; Charlene Jelinski reported a surplus of $28.56; Jacy Eberlein reported a surplus of $46.28; Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon reported a surplus of $54.93; and Ray Watkins reported a surplus of $208.49. Mayor Cathy Heron reported a surplus of $1,356.12.

Belke said candidates will have to cut the city a cheque for the surplus amounts, which will then be held in trust in case they decide to run in the next election.

“It’s money … that was donated to them to fund a campaign to elect that person,” he said.

If candidates do not run in the next election, the surplus is either donated to a registered charity of their choice, or they can choose to donate it instead to the city.

April Hudson :April is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette