City government could do with a healthy dose of the basics, Marc Rold says - sound stewardship, principled leadership, global as well as local perspective.
And he argues that he's the best one to bring those to the Kalispell City Council from Ward 3, where he and his family have lived in the same house for 19 years.
Rold said his active interest in the community means he understands neighborhood needs.
But an effective leader must "look at your perspective and a more global perspective … I have the ability to see both from the individual perspective and the overall and organizational perspective."
He expects to learn more during council service, but also to add his contributions.
"I do have a new perspective to bring that I have not seen in the council recently," he said. "It's time for a change."
One thing he would change is budgeting. He would base the process on the business sense he uses in creating budgets for his own company, Wild Horse Limousine.
"We've just been through some very good times and revenues were up, and for whatever reason adequate reserves were not maintained," he said. "We've got to not build a budget on good times.
"Every dollar of our tax money is confiscated. We are simply stewards of other people's money," he said.
Rold said he bears in mind that the government does not create wealth, it simply redistributes "and in some senses it destroys it."
His support for the idea of tax increment financing is measured. On one hand, he said, it's a valid tool. On the other it's too easily used with a narrow project in mind rather than the entire city.
"I believe that is why we have the reserve fund we have now," he said.
Tax increment districts capture revenue growth and it "impacts our ability to collect taxes elsewhere," he said. "It divides money into little pots" that, if taken collectively, could be used for more comprehensive projects to benefit a broader population.
The Kalispell City Airport is a generator for economic activity, he said.
He said general aviation in the United States is trending toward small aircraft and many pilots prefer using less congested airports such as Kalispell's. With that in the picture for future traffic growth, he said he thinks expansion could be a good idea.
"The city has come so far in this process that there's no way to unwind it without losing [a lot] of money," Rold said.
He said he can bring a cooperative attitude to the council that could only be for the good.
"The divide and conquer strategy has been employed so widely nationally and locally … I don't agree" with it, he said.
The uproar that broke out over whether to build the north or south half of the U.S. 93 Bypass first is a good example, he said.
"It makes no sense," he said. "It's not a benefit to the city until the whole thing is built. It should be the most efficient use of money and what is expedient for construction."
It takes more time and energy for a collaborative process to plan a city's decisions, but Rold said he believes in the importance of building consensus.
He also believes in principled leadership instead of political leadership.
"Our country operates on principles that are tried and true," he said. If they're followed, "you can explain how you got to a decision even if you don't agree. That's not happening on the council now."
The debate over transportation impact fees was long and divisive precisely because "principles were not followed, politics were followed," he said.
Rold hopes to bring citizens together "to bring our rhetoric back to a principled stance and restore fiscal soundness, bring sound financial stewardship back to the city," he said.
He would have to work with his colleagues on the council to do that but said his familiarity with all of them will help.
"I know they have different points of view. I can respect their opinions," he said. But "I'm not a shrinking violet so I can get my point across."
Reporter Nancy Kimball may be reached at 758-4483 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org