Morinville's mayor will aim for a fourth term this fall as he once again puts his name on the ballot.
Mayor Lloyd Bertschi announced at Tuesday's council meeting that he would seek another term. He made the announcement after chiding Coun. Joe Gosselin for his comments in the Gazette two weeks ago, that Bertschi was being "irresponsible" for not declaring his intentions.
At the meeting, Bertschi accused Gosselin of "grandstanding" and said the councillor should have just asked him about his election plans.
In an interview, Bertschi said he originally intended to announce his election plans at the end of June, but it conflicted with the town's chain of office ceremony.
"I thought it was better for me to respect the ceremony and make it about the chain of office and not about me."
Bertschi said he doesn't like to announce any sooner than the end of June, because of the risk it could politicize current council business.
Had Gosselin asked him privately he would have told him when he planned to announce his candidacy, he added.
"I did not appreciate being called out publicly without him affording me the decency of talking to me behind the scenes."
Gosselin said he was taken aback when Bertschi called him out at the council meeting. He only wanted the mayor to tell the public about his plans, he said.
"I said that the next time I grandstand would be the first time I grandstand, because that's not how I operate. I don't grandstand. I don't do things for political gain."
With no one else having declared their plans, Gosselin said he was beginning to become worried whether there would be any candidate for mayor.
"Members in the community have to be told if their mayor is running again," he said. "I think for that position he should have spoken up sooner."
Gosselin said he has thought about running for the mayor's chair himself and Tuesday night's rebuke almost pushed him into it, but in the end he doesn't believe he could give the job the time it requires.
"It would be irresponsible to run, just to prove a point."
Gosselin has announced he won't be running for council, but the five other incumbent councillors all intend to be on the ballot.
Steady as she goes
Bertschi, who is finishing his third term as mayor, said he is proud of the town's position and wants to continue down the same path.
The town has built up significant financial reserves and is paying for the new cultural centre with relatively little debt.
He said he wants to make permanent the 'pay as you go' and prudent approach to budgeting. He added he wants to make sure all of the town's infrastructure is well looked after, before the 'nice-to-have' things are considered.
"I want to make sure that the philosophy we have had continues over the next three years so that the philosophy becomes entrenched in the organization."
Bertschi said the town has added 80 new residential lots so far this year and wants to continue to see steady growth. New residents could help with the problem of business attraction and economic development, he said.
He added the community would be attractive to businesses if Morinville has everything to offer.
"We are trying to build a complete community so that if people are relocating their business they will see we have the cultural side, the recreational side."
Once the cultural centre is completed the town can start laying the groundwork for the next facility, he said. Even though there is significant interest in a pool he said that is probably not economically feasible.
Bertschi remains interested in the idea of a specialized municipality, combining several local municipalities into one, like Strathcona County has done, but he said other mayors in the region aren't interested.
"I am not going to push a rope uphill, if there is no political will from the urban municipalities then there is no point in pursuing it."
Election day is Oct. 18 in Morinville and the polling station will be located at the Parish Hall. An advance vote is planned for Oct. 9.