Swift Current Mayor Al Bridal announces bid for second term

By Matthew Liebenberg

Swift Current Mayor Al Bridal decided to answer the question many people have already been asking him about the upcoming municipal election scheduled for Nov. 13.

He announced his intention to stand for re-election to a second term during a meeting with local media in the downtown area, June 17.

“It’s been almost four years since I had the honour of being elected by the citizens of Swift Current as mayor,” he said. “Working with good people on council and great City employees has made my time as mayor both rewarding and fulfilling. It has also given me great joy to work with many Swift Current residents on solutions to public issues that they may have had with our City. My goal of seeking re-election is to continue to guide our City these next four years.”

He felt it was time to declare his candidacy due to the growing number of questions he has been receiving from people about his intentions.

“I keep having to say just wait,” he noted. “In the last six months, if I said I’ve had a hundred people ask if I’m running again, I wouldn’t be out of line. … And so, after a while you just say let’s just tell everybody.”

He also wanted to make an early announcement to leave no uncertainty for others who might be considering a mayoral bid.

“If there’s someone thinking about running, I want to put my name out there,” he said. “I’m here, I’m running again. So don’t think if you want to become mayor, you’re going to do it without opposition.”

He felt one of the highlights of his current term as mayor has been the settlement agreements that were negotiated with owners of several parcels of land in the city.

“There were some issues before with some land deals in the city that had been going on forever with no payment,” he mentioned.

The terms of those agreements resulted in some land being returned to the City, payments of outstanding amounts were made and details of agreements were updated to ensure legal protection of the City’s interest.

Another highlight was the expansion of the City Light and Power franchise area, which will have long-term benefits due to the larger customer base. However, the deal with SaskPower was expensive and the City had to take on a loan of $14.8 million.

“That is a business decision and that will pay dividends to our citizens for many years to come, just like our electrical right now has been paying dividends to our citizens,” he said.

The reduction of City debt was a key focus of Bridal’s campaign when he ran for mayor in the 2020 election. He felt that goal has been achieved during his term, because the City’s debt will be just over $16 million less by the end of this year. He also felt ratepayers benefitted from lower tax increases during his term.

“The first year there was no tax increase, but we have had tax increases since then because expenses keep going up,” he said. “We have increased taxes at or below the level of inflation and in the future, we’ll be looking at keeping the taxes as low as possible.”

One of the big surprises of his role as mayor has been the time commitment to attend meetings and various events. It has also been an ongoing learning process to understand all the details of the municipal organization.

“It just takes a while to learn the system and to learn how things work,” he said. “After three-and-a-half years I’m feeling comfortable being mayor and feeling comfortable with lots of the how the process works in the City.”

He urged Swift Current residents to use the opportunity to vote in the upcoming fall municipal election.

“It’s important,” he said. “This is kind of the first level of government. You have the most impact on your city councillors and your city mayor, more so than your MPs or MLAs. It’s really important and I would hope that our citizens will think it’s important enough to get out and vote.”