Vying for a seat on council in Newfoundland and Labrador can be an expensive venture – especially in St. John's.

Walter Harding candidate for Ward 3 in 2013 election in St. John's

Ward 3 candidate Walter Harding said he has a campaign budget of $1,000, which he's financing himself. (CBC)

Campaign spending for municipal elections in the city has run the gamut, from former councillor John Dinn in Goulds, who didn't spend a cent in 2001 to win his seat, to former mayor Andy Wells, who spent $91,300 that same year.

Walter Harding started campaigning in his ward for the upcoming Sept. 24 election last year.

He said he's heard of candidates spending a lot of money.

"There's no doubt about it... There's some people I've heard that have raised $70- and $80-thousand," he said.

The Ward 3 candidate has a budget of $1,000, which he's financing himself. Harding is relying on his own hard work.

"Because I know there's only one person in this world that I know inside and out and that's me... and I know what I can do," he said. 

"Money for me has never been an issue. If I can work harder to spend less, that's what I do."

Harding doesn't have a lot of signs, but plans to knock on every door in his ward before election day on Sept. 24.

"They want to talk. They want to see your face. Internet, telephones is one way to talk to somebody, but they want to see your face," he said.

That's not always possible for candidates running for mayor, deputy mayor, or councillors-at-large, who have to mount a city-wide campaign.

Paul Sears, a former councillor who's running for councillor-at-large, plans to spend between $15- to $20-thousand on his campaign, and has signs everywhere.

He said being seen is a big factor.

"The big thing with people is if you don't have signage up... they don't even know you're in the race," Sears said.

"It's an old way of campaigning, but it's still an important way of campaigning for a lot of people."

Sears said you have to be prepared to spend if you want to be taken seriously.

"If they don't spend money, they're not going to be known. And unless they have a network of people who are constantly on the phones, constantly at the doors, that's the only way we can get elected. That goes for all of us."

Here are some of the St. John's election spending numbers:

2001
Andy Wells - mayor  
$91,300
Gerry Colbert - deputy mayor  
$12,123
Paul Sears - councillor 
$8,340
John Dinn - councillor
$0

2005
Andy Wells - mayor
$54,675
Dennis O'Keefe - deputy mayor
$15,975
Shannie Duff - councillor 
$14,925
Tom Hann - councillor
$3,600    

2008 byelection
Dennis O'Keefe - mayor
$35,550
Ron Ellsworth - deputy mayor 
$21,000
Debbie Hanlon - councillor 
$11,575

2009
Dennis O'Keefe - mayor 
$46,650
Shannie Duff - deputy mayor 
$24,411
Sheilagh O'Leary - councillor 
$23,838
Wally Collins - councillor 
$4,500