Betty Ponto is seeking a seat and a sixth term on the District of Taylor council in this month’s municipal election.
Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 15, and voters will elect four councillors and one mayor to serve as the next district council through to 2026.
Alaska Highway News has sent out a questionnaire to all candidates asking about their experience, priorities, and where they see the future of the district headed.
Responses are being published as they are received. The answers below have been edited for spelling and grammar only.
Voting will take place at the Community Hall, with advanced voting opportunity on Oct. 5.
Name: Betty Ponto
Occupation: Temp Administrative Support and Temp Postal Clerk
Community involvement: At one time or another I have held almost all Executive positions in various non-profit groups from community concern to PAC to youth sports. I have been a regular volunteer for many community events to this day. Previous terms on Council have given me many opportunities to participate with community and also to learn new things.
Why are you running for district council?
There’s an old saying that goes, ‘Everyone said Somebody should do (or say) something about that’. We are all that Somebody. People are born with a voice, how they choose to use that voice (or not) is personal choice. I’ve been able to put forward both mine as well as other’s voices many times, both on Council and in other avenues. I enjoy the challenge of combining the different voices into a good outcome.
What are your top 3 priorities?
To me, the highest priority doesn’t ever change: ensuring our infrastructure continues to be sound. Municipalities are mandated to supply only two services: water and sewer. Supplying those services are what enabled Taylor to become incorporated as a Village. When you think about it, if you don’t have those, you likely won’t have a town. I look forward to the results of our current study and pursuit for an alternate water supply.
The core services and service levels review already in progress is hugely important in my opinion. That completion will objectively tell us where we are at and where the residents might need us to go on many levels such as staffing, services, programs, etc. We will be able to work on a balance of ‘want to haves’ and ‘need to haves’.
Completing the hard work our staff has put into our Asset Management Plan. This will tell us what we have (whether water lines, facilities, equipment, etc.), what their age and/or condition is and what we need to plan for them for the future.
The last two will encompass nearly all things that have been raised or talked about by residents. Medical clinic, transportation, housing, recreation, safety, etc. etc.
The district has an extra million dollars - How do you spend it?
There are so many possibilities! Recreation, equipment, the list goes on. Now that our Public Works facility is finished and operational, I would like to put the dollars towards something that is also sorely needed for our operations – more room for our main District Office and it’s personnel and storage needs.
While the community and the services we provide have grown so much over time, the old building (that is actually multiple buildings put together) is stretched to it’s limits on capacity for that growth. $1 million wouldn’t cover the total that might be needed but would be a good start towards more efficiency there.
Picture Taylor in 2032. What do you see?
Jarvis Subdivision filled with all ages from babies to elders. Services and facilities meeting the needs of both the residents and District operations.
Financial status is still excellent.
The small town neighbourly feel is ever present and residents are actively engaged in giving their voice to what their thoughts are on District matters.
What's the last local event you attended?
In the local area: Every Child Matters walk
Hosted by Taylor: Candidates 101 Workshop and Coffee With Council (regular events are just now gearing up after summer break)
What's the last movie or book you enjoyed and why?
There’s two, both books.
Where the Crawdads Sing. A murder mystery that also gives thought to how our present day selves have been formed and are guided by our own inner child experiences.
“Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power. I found the teaching she gives on Indigenous government ways and her struggle and strength in standing true to her own principles much more fascinating than the political drama.
What's your dream post-pandemic vacation?
Anywhere that close friends and family can gather after pandemic lengthy separation. That doesn’t have to be somewhere exotic, the simpler the better.
Taylor's best kept secret is...
Who we are and what we have. The people and the amenities. I love it when even local area people come right into town for something and remark, “I’ve been through Taylor a hundred times and never knew…” (fill in the blank).