The exterior of Huntsville's town hall is shown on June 5th, 2019. Photo by James Wood/MyMuskokaNow.com staff.
HUNTSVILLE, ON- There could be a high price tag to replace Huntsville’s mayor.
That’s according to Denise Corry, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Huntsville.
Corry spoke with the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom this week about the next steps for the community’s municipal leadership, due to the pending resignation of current mayor Scott Aitchison. Due to his success for the Conservative’s in the recent federal election, he’ll be heading to Ottawa in the near future.
He’s expected to resign on Monday. Council will then be faced with choosing two options to replace him. They could go with a by-election, or appoint a mayor.
According to Corry and a report from town staff, the cost of a by-election to replace Aitchison would be around $107,488, conducted with internet and telephone voting. There would be no ballots used.
That number is determined due to the entire municipality voting to replace the mayor, which would be roughly 18,500 electors.
The $107,488 cost could come around a second time as well, in the event of a gap on council following the mayoral by-election.
According to Corry, if one of the council members who represent the Town of Huntsville and the District of Muskoka were to take the mayor’s seat, the entire community would have to choose a new person to fill their spot in a by-election, which would cost the same as the mayoral replacement.
In total, the whole process could cost $214,976.
If a ward councilor was in the mayor’s seat, the cost would likely be lower, depending on the residents of the ward.
Corry indicated that if council went with an appointment instead, there would be no cost.
However, all of these options depend on what Huntsville’s town council want to do.
“There is no written rule that states that if council chooses a by-election for the first vacancy that they have to do a by-election for the second vacancy,” said Corry.
“It would have to be determined on each position.”
The choice on which routes to take will be made by council in the near future. Corry expected that decision to be made likely by this December.
Until then, deputy mayor Karin Terziano will be in the mayor’s seat after Aitchison’s resignation.