Why you should take an interest in local elections

By Alderman Wayne Rothe

When you get up in the morning and turn on the shower you expect the water to be running. That’s a municipal service. When there is a big snow dump the plow drivers who toiled through the night to help you get to work are municipal employees.

It’s important to take an interest in local government. With all due respect to the federal and provincial levels of government, it’s local municipalities that provide the services that you use daily. The decisions we make greatly affect your quality of life. We’re the ones who approve the city’s multi-million-dollar budget, which establishes our priorities for the next year and is a guiding document for the two years immediately following.

I compare a city council to the board of directors of a large corporation. We set policy at a high level (residential snow clearing and sidewalk replacement, for example) and then our staff do what they do.

Most of those who are reading this probably couldn’t name more than two or three of their council members. Most didn’t vote in the last civic election, as we only got 23 per cent turnout. Many of those who chose not to vote don’t mind taking to social media with their complaints and will complain to friends, so they should want to have a say selecting the people who set the City policy that troubles them.

I recently had a young woman I know ask me how she should determine who to support. I suggested that she vote strategically. She can vote for UP TO one candidate for mayor, six for alderman and three for EITHER the public or separate school board – whichever board her taxes support. I recommended that she not vote for the maximum number of candidates for each position. If you support only certain candidates don’t dilute your vote by selecting others just to fill an entire ballot. That hurts the candidates you strongly support.

Voters can listen here to all of the candidate interviews with 88.1 The One news director Tom Strangward.

https://soundcloud.com/tom-strangward/sets/2017-spruce-grove-municipal?fref=gc&dti=103670549998553

The aldermanic forum is Oct. 2 and a separate forum for the two mayoralty candidates is Sept. 27. Both of these will be at Horizon Stage starting at 7 p.m. Spruce Grove Public Library will host a forum Sept. 26 on library and culture issues. If you listen to our interviews and attend the forums, you’ll be able to make good decisions.

The election is Monday, Oct. 16 with the four polling stations open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The stations are Spruce Grove Alliance Church, Queen Street Place Border Paving Athletic Centre and the Links golf course.

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