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Think carefully before marking your 'X'

It sure is refreshing to see what is shaping up to be a very interesting Airdrie municipal election this year. Regardless of what happens, I want to congratulate and thank the current mayor and council for their service and devotion to Airdrie.

It sure is refreshing to see what is shaping up to be a very interesting Airdrie municipal election this year. Regardless of what happens, I want to congratulate and thank the current mayor and council for their service and devotion to Airdrie. I’ve always found each of them to have Airdrie’s best interests at heart concerning every issue I’ve approached them with, regardless whether we agreed on what the right course of action should be.

As the big day nears, I am being repeatedly asked who I’m voting for. And although I certainly have an opinion on the matter, I think it’s better for the process if I keep those thoughts, as they pertain to specific candidates, to the confines of the ballot booth. However, Airdrie is home to my family and I, and as someone who cares as much as anyone for the future of this community, I thought I’d share four questions I think people in this City should ask themselves before marking their ‘X’ beside any candidate’s name on Oct. 18.

#1 – Is the person I’m voting for an individual who will listen to and work constructively with others who may have differing points of view? Airdrie has many unique concerns with dozens of potential solutions. This is one reason why we have so many different candidates running this year. There will be disagreements on how to tackle these challenges, and it is important that all candidates learn to listen to the ideas of others with an open mind.

#2 – Will the person I’m voting for be accountable for their decisions? Unlike our federal or provincial governments, municipal officials are permitted to vote freely and publicly on every issue that comes before City council. There is no government party line to toe – no closed caucus doors to hide behind. However, despite the reality of free votes in municipal politics, it is difficult to track down the voting record of our municipal officials to see how they are voting on proposals and for what reasons. I would challenge the winning candidates to keep their websites up after the election and detail their voting record as the term progresses.

#3 – Will the person I’m voting for be a voice for fiscal responsibility? In the last 10 years, Airdrie has doubled in size. This has meant the need for more infrastructure and program spending; no one disputes that. However, as we move forward, I feel it is exceptionally important that we continue to remain a fiscally attractive place for parents to raise their families and for entrepreneurs, both big and small, to run their businesses. If we lose our families and local businesses, we lose our community – it’s that simple. To that end, I hope people will support candidates who are committed to limiting year-over-year increases in municipal spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth. If this principle is adhered to, it will allow the City to keep up with its new infrastructure and service demands while maintaining or even lowering the property tax mill rate over time. As someone who has done a great deal of research on this particular economic policy, I have yet to see any legitimate reason for why such a policy shouldn’t be implemented at every level of government.

#4 – Does the person I’m voting for know how to prioritize? Airdrie has several critical infrastructure needs that must be addressed before moving on to new ones. We all know about the school infrastructure crisis and the need for 24-hour emergency care (those are primarily provincial issues). However, there are other infrastructure issues that the municipal government has a much larger role in completing. I’m referring to projects such as finishing the twinning of 8th Street, as well as Veterans and Yankee Valley Boulevards to 24th Street. It should also include safety infrastructure such as installing traffic lights at the intersection of Yankee Valley and Bayside coming out of Nose Creek Elementary (that is a tragedy waiting to happen). The City also needs to focus on addressing our ice rink shortage through partnership with the private sector. The City has already started on many of these projects – let’s be sure to finish them before moving on to less pressing issues.

In my view, past City councils have done a pretty darn good job of helping us get to where we are. However, new ideas and faces mixed in with some experienced ones is a healthy thing in my opinion…let’s just make sure we get the recipe right.

Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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