POST FALLS - Barry Rubin will seek Post Falls City Council Seat No. 5 in the Nov. 8 election.
Rubin, who is retired and will challenge incumbent Skip Hissong, said he would bring "decisive leadership" to the city.
He said he would make tough decisions, including with the budget, and not be swayed based on emotions.
"Too many decisions have been made on emotions and feelings rather than on hard analysis," Rubin said. "We can't afford that anymore. People are beginning to realize that hard choices have to be made and that's what leadership is about."
Rubin, a 60-year-old who has been a regular at city council meetings in recent years, is a political newcomer. But he believes he has the background to make a difference.
"I believe I provide a rational, balanced approach," he said.
A Post Falls resident for the past five years, Rubin has a bachelor's degree in political science. He is a former Navy officer, was an operations administrator for Countrywide Mortgage and an accounting consultant with the University of Southern California Medical Center.
Rubin is a volunteer with Kootenai County Fire and Rescue's Support Services Division.
Rubin, who said he won't accept any monetary campaign contributions, spoke against increasing taxes for employee wages in a recent budget hearing.
He believes in increasing user fees for voluntary parks and recreation programs and says the budget priorities need to be safety, streets and health.
"If you increase taxes to pay for other things than that, I don't see how it can be justified," Rubin said. "I think it's mandatory for elected city officials to set spending priorities.
"Raising taxes should be a last resort."
Rubin said decisions need to be made with the entire community in mind, not just certain segments of it. He said he studies the issues and offers possible solutions or alternatives to problems.
Rubin said he's meeting with each of the department heads to get a better understanding of their concerns.
If elected, Rubin said he'd regularly make himself available at City Hall to meet with residents about whatever issues they have.
"The only way a representative form of government can do its job effectively is for people to get involved and make their voices known," Rubin said. "People need to be engaged."
Rubin has advocated for the city to hold budget forums involving residents prior to the public hearing. He also requested that citizens be given longer than 3 minutes to comment on the budget at the hearing, which was approved.
He believes a citizen budget tax advisory group is a good idea.
"People are not happy with government; they're becoming cynical," Rubin said, adding that some don't believe their voices are heard. "They say, 'What difference does it make?' Well, it does make a difference."
Rubin said Post Falls needs more commercial growth to create a better tax base mix because it currently weighs too much on the residential side.
"We have enough vacant homes," he said.
Job training is also needed for Post Falls because that's what some companies look at before relocating, Rubin said.