Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney issued a statement Friday morning, Aug. 10, saying that he has decided he will not re-offer for the position of mayor in the upcoming municipal elections happening in October.
Instead, Mayor Mooney says he will offer his skills and experience as a candidate for Yarmouth Town Council.
Three candidates have expressed interest in running for the mayor's seat in the upcoming election: Deputy Mayor Byron Boudreau, former mayor Charles Crosby and town resident Pam Mood.
Here is the statement issued by Mayor Mooney:
It will come as no surprise when I say Yarmouth has seen some tough times in the past few years, and we’ve made some tough choices.
Some of those choices have not been popular – change can be difficult, but change was necessary.
I take full responsibility for the decisions I made as Mayor, and if people need someone to blame for the changes our Town Council has undertaken, then blame me.
Some of these changes could have been communicated better, but at least our changes were debated openly, in public – sometimes hotly debated – instead of being made in the backrooms.
There is plenty for this Town Council to be proud of. We have worked together with the community to clean up the old mess and put the foundation in place for:
• open, honest, accountable and sustainable economic development;
• a common sense approach to dealing with business concerns like signage and taxes;
• a renewed, positive relationship with the provincial government that is resulting in significant infrastructure investments – nearly $4 million in work happening now as we speak;
• a fresh focus on events, activities and public spaces – like the downtown Farmers’ Market – things that are making Yarmouth more attractive for families.
…and we did it without raising tax rates for homeowners or businesses.
The debris of failed economic development structures has been cleared away. A new foundation has been laid. The pieces are finally falling into place, and I feel we’re turning a corner. Now it’s time to get back to business.
But there is still a difficult road ahead, and we need to keep moving forward. We can’t afford a return to the backroom politics of the past. The SWSDA audit has proven that.
I believe I have done everything in my power to help our Town during the hardest four years Yarmouth has faced since the Depression.
It has been my goal that when I left the Mayor’s office, I would leave Yarmouth in a better position to face the future than when I was elected.
Today, I believe the Town of Yarmouth is in better shape fiscally and in terms of governance, accountability, essential infrastructure and our relationship with our neighbours. Nothing proves this more true than the hugely successful 250th anniversary 2
celebrations with our municipal partners, the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth and the Municipality of the District of Argyle.
We are an example to others in intermunicipal cooperation. We work with our municipal neighbours on Recreation, Doctor Recruitment, Medical Clinics, Airport, Port of Yarmouth, our Economic Council, Solid Waste Park, Waste Check, Tourism, Waterfront Development, fire services, sewer services, recycling, home support, Mariners Centre, Milo Dam and the list goes on.
Our latest Town Budget maintains existing tax rates, even as assessments have levelled off. We are pleased that we are able to complete the Skate Board Park this year, while completing other projects such as the Lost to the Sea Monument and the Lake Milo Dam and renovations to the Mariners Centre. We are investing new capital dollars into street infrastructure in the form of paving, sidewalks and street amenities. We are investing in our equipment and buildings in order to maintain a level of service and safety.
The Town of Yarmouth is in very good fiscal health. We have reduced our debt this year along with our debt servicing costs. The Town has sufficient reserves to exceed all existing benchmarks, and we have a capital investment strategy that few municipalities can match. Our tax rates are average among towns, but our fiscal policies and spending habits are among the most prudent.
I’ve worked IN Yarmouth and FOR Yarmouth my entire life, and I feel I still have plenty to offer.
My time as a Town Councillor and as Mayor has shown me the importance of a team approach to Town politics. After all, the Mayor only has one vote – just like every other Councillor.
I believe I may be better able to fully use my skills and experience as part of a team working for a better Yarmouth.
That is why I will not re-offer for the position of Mayor. Instead I would like to offer my skills and experience as a candidate for Yarmouth Town Council.
As I said, there is plenty for this Town Council to be proud of. I have been proud to be a part of this Council, and I would be proud to continue to serve the people of Yarmouth.
I appreciate the support I have received as Mayor, and I ask for the continued support of my friends and neighbours as we work together to make Yarmouth a better place to live and grow.