Marriott acclaimed as Lambton Warden

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Former Warden Bill Weber helps Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott with the Warden's chain of office. Marriott was acclaimed as the 160th warden of Lambton. Sarnia City/County Councillor Brian White will serve as Marriott's deputy warden after defeating Brooke-Alvinston Mayor David Ferguson and Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand in an election.

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott will be the warden of Lambton County for another two years.

He was the only candidate for the job to be the face of the county and to lead county council meetings.

Sarnia City/County Councillor Brian White will serve as Marriott’s deputy mayor. He defeated Brooke-Alvinston Mayor David Ferguson and Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand – who served as the deputy warden for the past four years.

The 160th warden of the county is expecting this will be a difficult term. Marriott told county councillors after Wednesday’s election that the pace of change in the last three years has been “staggering.”

“I believe much more pain is coming,” he says adding while economist believe the country will have a difficult 2023, he believes the economic problems will last longer than that.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge. I think the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.”

Marriott told reporters the first big challenge county council faces is the 2023 budget. Inflation is pushing up costs and the warden doesn’t think taxpayers can afford large tax increases.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to handle a six per cent increase in taxes. Where do we come up with the money to deal with the issue of rising costs?” says Marriott.

That will have to be balanced with the need to help those who are homeless and seniors in need of long term care, says Marriott.

Right now, the waiting list for an affordable housing unit is four years and Marriott says the county needs to find ways to build more homes to meet the need. And the county’s long term care homes are in need of $100 million in repairs over the next decade. The province has already told county officials there isn’t likely to be provincial cash available to help.

Marriott urged county councillors to work as a team “overlooking the occasional differences of opinion” and “not vote only for the municipality we represent but for the county as a whole.”