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Mayor-elect Paul Reutov is eager to get to work on community growth

New Lac La Biche County mayor wants to see community grow and not be forgotten

Paul Reutov laughed when he was asked how the new "mayor-elect" of Lac La Biche County was feeling, just an hour after the unofficial election results put him in the top spot.

"Mayor-elect ? I'm looking forward to being the elected mayor," he told Lakelandtoday last Monday night, continuing a good-natured smile.

In accordance with Local Authorities Election Act, and with no requests for a recount, Reutov's win was made official on Friday afternoon. Reutov and the rest of council will be officially sworn in at a ceremony to start the coming week.

High voter turnout

The officil numbers from the October 18 municipal election in Lac La BIche County saw Reutov earn 1,065 of the 3,263 votes cast for the four mayoral candidates in the race. In total, 3,290 Lac La La Biche residents cast votes for 31 candidates vying for the 9 positions around the council table. The voter turnout was approximately 62 per cent — a number that is twice as high as voter turnout numbers in neighbouring Cold Lake and St. Paul municipalities. 

Clearly pleased to see the election night's results,  Reutov's enthusiasm and passion for his coming role of mayor is obvious. So is his desire to give the electorate more of what they want.

"What I see is where we are at today, and how do we make it better," said Reutov. "We need to deliver that."

The Plamondon-based family man and business owner who has created several start-up businesses and partnered with others in recent years, says the hig voter turnout and the vote for change that brought him into the mayor's chair is a reflection of the wishes of the residents. 

"I can relate to that, and I think that is what happened — I can relate to the people. What they want is what I want for our community," he said, explaining that the role of mayor is a passion for him; it's more than a job. "I'm not here for a paycheck. I am here to deliver. When people voted, they voted with emotions and they voted with hope for change. I'm going to deliver that change. It's all about this county."

Numbers

The vote for change was apparent in the numbers on election night. Reutov’s victory — garnering one-third of the total voter turnout — was 250 votes more than runner-up Arlene Hrynyk, 295 vote more than George L’Heureux and 452 votes over outgoing Mayor Omer Moghrabi.

During his campaign for the mayor's chair, Reutov said the community was ready for significant changes. He even went so far to say "the old guard is dead," when it comes to antiquated planning and processes on business development, retention and investment.

The only way to move forward — in business and in life — is to jump at opportunities, he said on election night.

"My mindset is about bringing my expertise and my experience ... to take advantage of every possible opportunity and to take hold of every possible advantage," he said.

Reutov said he spent much of election night visiting with friends, taking phone calls and getting ready for four years of change.

Familiar faces and new mayor

With the official results released on Friday, Reutov's council will include Ward 1 incumbent councillor Darlene Beniuk, Ward 2 newcomer Kevin Pare, Ward 3 incumbent Colette Borgun, Ward 4 incumbent Jason Stedman, Ward 5 incumbent Charlyn Moore, Ward 6 incumbent Sterling Johnson, Ward 7 incumbent Lorin Tkachuk and Ward 7 newcomer John Mondal.

Lakelandtoday.ca has contacted outgoing Lac La Biche County Mayor Omer Moghrabi, and his interview will be pubished shortly. Moghrabi served two and a half terms as mayor, beginning in 2014 when he won a mayoral by-election.