Mono residents vote to bring municipal veterans back to council

Ralph Manktelow could be the most popular man in Mono.

For the third consecutive municipal election cycle, Manktelow garnered the most votes at the polls for a seat on town council. He won his third outing on the hustings in the Oct. 24 election with 988 ballots marked in his favour.

That’s 52.6 per cent of the total votes cast by Mono residents.

“I’m delighted to be voted in again,” he said. “The tally was pretty good for me in terms of numbers, so that’s where the surprise comes. You never really know when you’re knocking on doors how much people know of you. Whether they’re impressed or not.

“It’s always a pleasant surprise.”

Mayor John Creelman and Deputy Mayor Fred Nix were acclaimed to their positions in August, having been the only names put forward for their position by the time nominations closed.

Rounding out council are incumbent Melinda Davie and Elaine Capes, who previously served on town council from 2010 to 2014. Coun. Davie earned 656 votes for 34.9 per cent of the ballots marked with an X, while Capes got 637 votes, or 33.9 per cent.

Despite the trend of his popularity at the polls, Manktelow ruled out without any doubt a run at the mayor’s or deputy mayor’s seats in any future electoral contest.

“I like being a councillor,” he said. “As a councillor, your focus is totally on Mono and that works for me very well.”

The mayor and deputy mayor have responsibilities on Dufferin County council.

“You have Dufferin County committees and other commitments there,” he said. “I’m not so sure I want to do that. Besides, I have a private life. Hobbies, friends, and family.”

A farmer in Mono, devoting his focus on the town and the issues that concern its residents suits him very well, he said.

“As a councillor, you have one vote on council,” Manktelow said. “As the mayor, you have one vote on council. So you have as much clout as the mayor or the deputy mayor.”

Looking forward to the coming term, he anticipates the greatest challenge will be writing next year’s budget, balancing the municipal spending priorities with maintaining a manageable tax levy for Mono residents.

The cost-of-living index is anywhere from six to eight per cent. Mono has enjoyed a very good standard of financial management over the years, he said. In fact, the town has no debt and previous councils have managed to keep tax increases in line with a cost-of-living index of one or two per cent every year, he said.

“Now it’s going to be a challenge,” Manktelow said. “I feel it’s a particular challenge because the effect of COVID financially on people has varied. Some people have done well. Others have done terribly.

“That basically means you can maintain your services, and your equipment, and all your capital expenses. You can maintain them and it doesn’t get behind. It doesn’t get ahead, either, but at least you’re staying where you are.”

For her part, Capes said it’s great residents out their faith in her and voted to bring her back to the council table.

“I wouldn’t have run if I didn’t want to be there,” she said. “I’m thrilled.”

She said the first order of business should be for the new council to get together and hammer out what the priorities will be over the next term.

“And then go back to the community and make sure we’ve got them right,” Capes said. “Obviously, I had my election campaign and I stand by it. Keeping Mono beautiful, safe, and affordable.”

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James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen