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By Wendy Gabrek
The results are in and the Town of New Tecumseth has elected its new council – to be led by incumbent Mayor Rick Milne.
Milne, who received 5,959 votes – or 63.92 per cent of voter support, beat his opponent, Tony Veltri – who took 36.08 per cent of the vote with 3364 ballots cast – for the position.
“Well, it's over and one more time I'd asked for your support in re-electing me for Mayor and I feel so honoured you did. I thank you all so much and will do my best to serve the residents of New Tecumseth for the next four years. I want to congratulate the other candidates that were also successful and I look forward to working with you and being your Mayor. For the candidates that didn't get elected I want to say congratulations to them too. Everyone ran a great race and I encourage you to not give up and keep involved in the community, volunteer, stay engaged. Thanks to everyone that helped me in my campaign, my family, friends and you the people that put your faith in me one more time. I am truly humbled,” wrote Mayor-elect Milne.
Mr. Veltri, on the other hand, said he was disappointed in the result.
“I'm more disappointed than surprised. Disappointed because I believe I ran a substance laden campaign, with a clear platform to move us forward, against an incumbent whose pitch to voters for re-election was that he ‘cares'. But mostly I'm disappointed that voter turnout dropped by five per cent to just over 34 per cent of eligible voters, which means two-thirds of the voting population couldn't care less about our local government. That's a troubling sign in a community that's growing. But I'm better for the adventure and getting a sense of what it's like on the other side, after so many years of covering elections as a journalist. It was a fun ride,” Tony Veltri told The Times.
The race for Deputy Mayor was won by Richard Norcross, former Town of New Tecumseth Ward 6 Councillor, with 4,407 votes (or 47.92 per cent). His opponents, former Ward 3 Councillor J.J. Paul Whiteside, received 3,724 votes (or 40.50 per cent), and Peter Barbati had good support with 1,065 votes (11.58 per cent).
“I truly respect all of the candidates who put there names forward,” Deputy Mayor elect Richard Norcross told The Times. “It has been a privilege and an honour to represent our town for the last 18 years, and I will continue to do so. I am proud to live here and call New Tecumseth my home.”
“I want to congratulate the members of the newly elected Town Council,” said J.J. Paul Whiteside. “To all those persons who voted for me at the polls I wish to thank them for their support. My campaign team worked extremely hard for me and I do appreciate all their assistance. I want to express a special thank you to my beautiful wife, Margaret, who was my number one supporter and who was beside me the entire campaign.”
Here's how the battle for the eight ward positions played out:
“A majority of members have been elected again. I look forward to working with our Councillors elect,” said Ward 4 Councillor elect Fran Sainsbury. “All candidates have worked hard. Campaigns are most difficult. I will miss J.J. Paul Whiteside. He is an amazing person. Very sincere, committed and hard-working. We have both been involved in Municipal government for many years and his business acumen will be sorely missed, especially at budget time. He was able to help keep tax increases low, as he was a Chartered Accountant and had many creative solutions.
“During the campaign, I learned that most residents prefer stability and not drastic changes. A special thank you to my family, friends, neighbours and volunteer workers. We made a great team! My advice for new members is to learn the rules that govern us, listen to Staff responses, read your reports carefully. I trust we will be a cohesive Council, so that we might achieve much together, on behalf of the residents who have elected us to build an even better Community.”
“I want to thank the residents of Ward 5 for their continued support and I am looking forward to representing them at our municipal council, and making decisions in the best interest of the whole town,” said Ward 5 Councillor elect Donna Jebb.
“I am so very grateful for all the support I received from residents of Beeton, family and friends,” said Ward 6 Councillor elect, Stephanie MacLellan. “I am dedicated to keeping Beeton beautiful, communicating effectively and being a strong voice for Beeton around the Council table. I do not take this position lightly and will work around the clock for Beeton and all of New Tecumseth. I am excited to get to work with the new Council and continue to move Beeton and New Tecumseth forward.
“To the other ward 6 candidates I thank you for running respectful, heartfelt, honest campaigns. You are all true gentlemen and have been and I'm sure will continue to be outstanding members of our community. Campaigns are not easy and every candidate deserves recognition and thanks for putting their name forward. I am looking forward to working with every member of the new Council. Collaborating, communicating and learning together as a united Council for the betterment of New Tecumseth.
“To the residents of Beeton thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will represent you honestly, efficiently and respectfully because you deserve nothing less. I'm ready for the next four years and am humbled to have received this opportunity. Together we will keep Beeton beautiful because it truly does take a village and we have one amazing village!”
Simcoe County District School Board Trustee
Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board Trustee
In New Tecumseth, 34.53 per cent of the 27,528 eligible voters turned out at the polls, with 9,505 total ballots cast at 27 voting stations. The turnout is down about five per cent over the 2014 municipal election, with roughly two-thirds of eligible cards left unused.
The new council will be sworn in at the first Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, December 3, 2018.
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