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Being a small town Mayor means community above self

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Every four years an election is held in our town to elect a Mayor and six councilors. These elected officials step up to serve the community with the responsibility of public trust associated with issues that rise along the way. The Mayor has the responsibility of making decisions to maintain public trust. The current Mayor and Council are big on trust, ensuring that the operations and projects stay within budget. The town operates primarily on revenue from tax dollars. The town does not compete with business for taxpayers’ dollars. Primarily the revenue collected comes from the tax base. It is simple, when business comes to the community, additional tax dollars are generated, creating additional jobs which increase the number of people living in the community. When these people build a home or purchase a home, they become a taxpayer. The town benefits in this situation. The town population has been stable since 2019. The next census in 2021 will tell us whether people are staying, leaving or otherwise.
The primary responsibility of the municipality is to ensure that essential services are maintained. This in plain English is public works. The town is responsible for providing clean water and ensuring that the sewage is disposed of and managed properly. Keeping the streets in good repair and drivable condition is another responsibility of the town. Public safety is equally important, with 17% of the tax dollars are allocated towards policing. These services are provided based on tax dollars that are collected from business and homeowners residing and operating within the Town of The Pas boundaries. Although the town funds the RCMP and have a strong reporting system in place, they do not fall within the flow chart of the town employees. A secondary responsibility is Parks and Recreation. Now more than ever, the town is recognizing the need for outdoor spaces where community can gather while staying socially distanced and safe.
The current Mayor and Council have been in office since 2018 and will serve until 2022. It will not be long until another election will take place, with the opportunity for new candidates to officially register their candidacy. Elected officials have many responsibilities, duties, and obligations, bound by the Manitoba Municipality Act and provincial regulations.
This story is a glimpse into the life of a small-town Mayor and the perspective on serving the community. Herb Jaques is currently the Mayor for the Town of The Pas. First elected in 2006 to 2010 on the council and put his name forth again in 2018. Running as Mayor he received 603 votes, with a 46% turnout of eligible voters. His campaign was based on building community pride and community spirit. Herb felt that he had something to offer the community. He recognized the importance of being a community volunteer early on in life, spending eight years volunteering as a fire fighter with the town fire department and another 15 years volunteering with the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival. He built many wonderful friendships through each volunteer experience. It was within the volunteer work that he met John St. Godard and Gary Hopper who then inspired him to get involved at a local political level. In 2006 all three friends ran for council and were elected. This was the start of his journey into municipal leadership. Jaques has said on more than one occasion that being an elected official in a small town is a unique experience “you will never look at your town the same way again. The municipal world is completely different than you might think.”

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REPORTER