Chestermere Mayor Patricia Matthews will not seek re-election

Chestermere Mayor Patricia Matthews will not seek re-election

Chestermere's mayor for the past 10 years has decided not to throw her hat into the next municipal election.

"I'm very proud of the work I've done as mayor since 2007 when we were a community of 3,500 people to the vibrant beautiful city we have become," said Patricia Matthews in a statement.

"I'm excited to pursue the opportunities that are in front of me now and more in the future."

Matthews was first elected to city council in 2004, and has lived in the city just east of Calgary since 1998.

She plans to spend more time with her family, and hopes by announcing seven months before the vote it will allow new candidates a chance to get educated about the role.

"I'm happy to share the learnings I've had in order to make it easier for whoever comes after me," she said in a YouTube video announcing her plans to not run.

Anyone interested in running for Chestermere city council can find out more information about how to get on the ballot on the city's website.

Candidates are not considered official until after nomination day on Sept. 18, 2017, but prospective candidates have to register with the city before accepting campaign donations.

It comes as Chestermere deals with the growing pains of becoming a larger centre.

Last year thousands of residents signed a petition of non-confidence in their mayor and council after a sudden 25 per cent hike to monthly utility bills.

Leigh-Anne Palter, the CEO of Chestermere Utilities Inc. (CUI), alerted town residents to the mistake in December 2015 after she realized customers had been charged less than the cost to provide water, wastewater, garbage and recycling services for roughly three years.

Allan Pleskie, with the group Citizens for a Better Chestermere — who has been a resident for 30 years, hopes to see some strong candidates in the next election.

"I think the reason that the mayor has decided not to run is that she's been getting a lot heat over not only CUI, but the fact that our property taxes are out of control," said Pleskie, adding his property taxes have almost tripled over a 10-year period.

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