Back for a fourth term as mayor of the City of Grand Forks, mayor-elect Brian Taylor said he and what he hopes will be a tight team of councillors-elect are getting ready to hit the ground running on the pressing issues facing the city.
Following his election on Saturday night, which he won with 755 votes, Taylor said he was thrilled to be serving once again as mayor – but council has a lot of work to do, especially relating to flood recovery.
Compared to 2014 when water metres were a wedge issue that polarized much of the campaign, Taylor said this election ran smoothly, with the mayoral candidates agreeing on many of the fundamental issues, like flood recovery. But, he said, voter turnout was likely lower because there was no polarizing issue.
“To some extent I was disappointed in turnout and surprised there were not more people voting,” Taylor said. “I think there was a general agreement on the fundamental issues facing the city … there was no black and white division in terms of a critical issue.”
With a mere 56 votes separating him from Everett Baker, Taylor said he felt it would be important to cooperate and listen to the issues that made Baker popular with voters.
“I need to listen carefully to what he and his people are saying. If it was wider gap it would not be as essential, but I think it is really essential now to recognize, half the community is really worried about the issues he brought especially related to homelessness and housing,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he is optimistic about his councillors-elect and said that with their collective experience, they will get moving on governing right away.
“The voters struck a good balance and I hope we can be a tight team,” Taylor said. “I see it as a team that will hit the ground running on this, and definitely not waste time with the usual orientation of all the new people. We have enough [experience] that we wont lose a lot of time before getting on the horse and riding.”
Taylor will be serving his fourth term as mayor, with already nine years of experience behind him. He served from 1996-99, and again from 2008-14.
Taylor said he was thankful to mayoral candidates Everett Baker and Gary Smith, who both raised important issues and discussed the qualities of leadership and community during the election period.
Most of all, he said he thinks the engaged and experienced council will lead to a smooth transition coming into office.
“I want to thank them all for voters, they want to see us get on with it,” he added. “They’re looking for a smooth transition, they want to see action.”
Taylor will be sworn into office on Nov. 9.