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City holds inaugural meeting

City hall in Dauphin was packed for the mayor and council swearing-in ceremony and inaugural meeting, Nov. 5.
After Mayor Al Dowhan and council members Christian Laughland, Patti Eilers, Kathy Bellemare, Rodney Juba, Devin Shtykalo and Kerri Riehl took the oath of office, Dowhan noted it was humbling to be acclaimed mayor.
“I will not take this job lightly. I see a lot of potential for Dauphin and area. We have a great group of counsellors and through cooperation., we can continue to make Dauphin the best community in Manitoba and Canada,” he said.
Dowhan thanked past councillor Keith Tkachyk for his contributions.
“Also the mayor and council, the citizens of Dauphin thank former city manager Brad Collett for 17 years of exemplary service to the Dauphin taxpayers,” he said.
“Many public works, and prudent financial management initiatives enabled mayor and council to reduce property taxes by 15 per cent. Something that’s never been done in Dauphin and very few other communities in Manitoba.”
Collett set the bar high, Dowhan said, warning those present to not expect more cuts.
“Unless you invest in our community and make it grow and we expand our tax base and we have mountains of money, we will reduce the taxes,” he added.
Dowhan introduced city staff including city manager Sharla Griffiths, deputy city manager Renee St. Goddard, executive assistant Lisa Gaudet, marketing and promotions director Melisa Stefaniw, economic development manager. Carissa Caruk-Ganczar, public works and operations manager Bill Brenner, energy manager Steve Sobering and recreation director Ryan Vanderheyden.
“This is a new era for Dauphin, in the city, with all the staff changes. And we are proud of our city staff for their professionalism, loyalty, expertise and customer service in serving our citizens,” Dowhan said.
“I have been around the block a few times and the group here is the best I’ve ever had in my career.”
The mayor outlined his goals for the next four years, noting the most important is securing a safe, reliable water supply from two sources. Dowhan plans to expand the city’s sustainability initiatives and make Dauphin a Manitoba sustainable community for the second year in a row.
The city will focus on the accountability of public safety enforcement, he said, prudent financial stewardship and continued infrastructure replacement.
“We’re going to pursue investment opportunities and sustain, or grow our population, improve our relations with Parkland communities, in tourism, business and recreational opportunities,” he said.
“Like I said, these are my plans. My wish is that the new council will adopt and work with me to better our community and our region.”
Councillor Bellemare was elected deputy head of council, to act in the absence of the head of council.
Grade 9 student Ashton Kaleta was appointed youth member for the City of Dauphin. Dowhan explained the Municipal Act allows a council to appoint a person with the title youth member to sit with council.
The youth member must be less than 18 years of age or enrolled as a full-time student in a school. The youth member can participate in council deliberations, he said, but is not counted for the purpose of determining a quorum or deciding a vote of council.

M. A. Nyquist