Airdrie resident Taylor Farthing will once again seek an alderman seat in this October’s municipal election.
Farthing ran in the last election and sits on the Citizen Advisory Board, Airdrie Police Committee and the Airdrie and District Youth Justice Committee.
“I think police and fire are some of the most important services in the community,” said Farthing, who used to be a volunteer firefighter.
“The City wants to provide all services to all people but sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. At the core, I am a taxpayer with two small children and I want to be involved to affect change.”
Politics runs in Farthing’s blood, as his father was a councillor in Wheatland County for years.
“I’m drawn to the volunteering aspect of it,” said Farthing, who has lived in Airdrie for 12 years.
“I’m a very approachable guy and at the end of the day, that’s the core value of the job. People can talk to me and tell me what they feel is important. I think people feel like they need to be listened to.”
Farthing said Airdrie’s voting apathy can be attributed to frustration.
“Why would people vote when they think what they say will fall on deaf ears?” asked Farthing.
Only 12 per cent of Airdrie residents voted in the last municipal election.
“However, change is inevitable,” said Farthing.
“There will be at least three new faces in the next council, so your vote absolutely counts. Get informed and by all means, get out there and vote because this is when it is going to count. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be for me, just get out there and vote.”
Farthing said one of the most important aspects in the upcoming election is taxation.
“I don’t want to sound cliché, but we really need to look at the tax model,” he said. “We rely heavily on the residential tax base. We offer significant breaks to attract businesses, which is fine if businesses are coming to town, but half of the working class in Airdrie drives to Calgary everyday. It would be nice to see those people live and work in Airdrie.”
Another important issue in the community, according to Farthing, is growth management.
“Our growth last year was five per cent and although that was the lowest it’s been in a decade, growth isn’t going to stop,” he said.
“We need to be thinking like a city of 80,000 and thinking proactively. We’ve seen how hard it is to work with growth on a reactive scale with our neighbours to the south and that is not a trap we want to get stuck in.”
The 33-year-old candidate lives in Airdrie with his wife Laura and two kids: two-year-old Scarlett and four-month-old Kase. He said one of the most difficult aspects of being on council will be balancing time between his family and the commitment, but he is up for the challenge.
“I have a great support system and I am committed. My wife knows my desire to be involved is deeply rooted,” he said.
“This is a priority, I don’t see it as just a three year gig. I see it as starting out with three years and growing from there. There will be a steep learning curve for the first year, but as a logistics manager for Western Canada, I am very cognizant of the bottom line.”
He said Alderman Shawn Howard was a fiscal hawk and someone has to fill his shoes.
“I’m gearing up for that,” he said.
“Just like running a business or a household, I am cognizant of where the money comes from and where it is going.”
Farthing said a safe and happy community is a great community and that’s why services are so important, however, those services come with a price tag.
He said it is also complicated when essential services must be balanced with the perks residents want in their community.
“The City does a good job of planning parks and pathways and creating community events. I thoroughly enjoy the small town spirit,” said Farthing.
“I am a small-town boy and there is a personality to this town. People are invested in Airdrie. I’m looking forward to interacting with the residents of Airdrie. In politics, everybody has an opinion and every opinion counts.”
To contact Farthing, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.