Candidates: Incumbent Gayland "Quincy" Snow and challenger F. Gregory Wilder
Gayland Snow's statement:
I feel that we must improve our current waste water treatment facility, with the most cost effective measures to insure stability for the future. Other infrastructure needs are roads, sidewalks and parks for the safety of our community as well as the tourists visiting our area. I also plan on working diligently to update the community building, to promote viable business or businesses for the economic growth of our community.
I have knowledge and experience with various funding agencies and have spent years pursuing funding for the waste water treatment plant as well as other projects for our town. I am well known, respected and have worked closely in the state and federal political realm. I will continue to pursue additional funding options to reduce the overall cost and price tag for our citizens with regards to the wastewater treatment plant improvements. I personally feel that I would rather spend our funding dollars to make the mandated upgrade and improvements to our plant, than to have an equipment failure which will ultimately result in raw sewage into the Columbia River. It will also result in much higher costs due to fines and emergency repairs. I believe we must be proactive.
My dedication to the community as your mayor for the past 16 years, as a council member for 10 years truly shows that I have the expertise, knowledge and integrity to fulfill the job. I am well versed in operations of how a municipality is run efficiently. It is not a simple job, but one that I am dedicated to continue serving as your mayor for the betterment of our town and its economic growth.
F. Gregory Wilder's statement:
At the top of my list of "challenges" is dissolving the impediments to change. As an example, changing the; "but we've always done it that way," paradigm to one that explores new and better ways. Softening the procedural and policy roadblocks that inhibit interface with our government is another – along with creating a town hall environment that actually encourages you to visit. I am best qualified to make these changes because the underlying problems and issues are an artifact of the current administration. And these challenges are some of the easiest – they require a commitment and the strength to decide. This election is defined by the way things are, as opposed to the way things could be. Many of the changes that encourage transparency, involvement, and improved customer service will be cost free, sensible, straight-forward, and easy to implement.
I intend to put a stop to the ill-conceived sewer treatment plant project and roll back sewer rates to a reasonable level. This will require town council involvement and having two new council members will help. I will work with Elmer City and the Tribes to identify viable alternatives and we will only proceed with designing and building what we want, need, and can afford. I am the better qualified candidate to do these things for two reasons. 1) We already know Mayor Snow's position of support for the ill-fated existing project and the exorbitant rate increases required to pay for it – my office (if elected) will not support the project as envisioned. 2) I have a proven track record of packaging and managing large public works projects that are affordable and have community involvement and support. I have the skill-set, work history, and creative bent for crafting fair and effective agreements, providing meaningful direction for consultants, defining relationships with regulatory agencies without unnecessary capitulation, and delivering projects on-time & within budget. As the city manager for Issaquah once said; "Greg got more accomplished in his first 4 years as our Public Works Director than all of the others before him combined." Simply put, I know how to plan, resource, and build.
Another challenge is to craft an effective utility rate-setting policy that reflects the "actual" costs of operating the utilities and distributes those costs equitably and proportionally across a user-class base. As it is now, using water as an example, the Town simply indexes up our rates annually – needed or not. If done fairly, a new rate policy will reduce costs to/for over 80% of our customers. Utility rate-setting should involve public hearings and be linked to the budget process... nothing about it should be "automatic" or preconceived. During the Snow administration the town shifted from "ordinance-based" rate-setting legislation to a "resolution-based" process primarily for two reasons; it's "easier" and it's "less likely to be noticed" (until after the new rates are already implemented)! What we've lost by these recent changes was both public disclosure and public process. I've always been a proponent of budget-linked rates and I developed a "what-if" model that many communities in Oregon and Washington have adopted. I've personally written countless rate-setting studies, and been instrumental in modernizing rate-setting policies to insure a transparent public process and a rate-result that matches the utility's resource need. I've advised communities as both a consultant and department director. That said, the mayor must convince the council that policy changes are necessary and beneficial and this requires an involved public, a willing town council, and strong leadership from the mayor's office. I will be committed to working with the council on sweeping changes to the town's current policies.
I have a self-imposed challenge. I want to involve the community in a planning process leading to the renewal and invention of structural resources and services that offer us (of all ages) community facilities for recreation, enlightenment, and entertainment. Our children, our parents, and all the rest of us just "go" when we need these things... we go elsewhere. We need more local options for ourselves and we also need them to sustain any hope of attracting meaningful economic development.
Philosophically I consider "challenges" as "opportunities" and that makes the prospect of serving you an exciting focus! I will set a series of town-hall meetings and workshops to identify what it is that YOU want challenged, changed, new, or different... what it is that YOU feel is important to make our community sustainable and inviting. Often a building must be knocked down to build a new one – so too with a major organizational change.
In closing, I am the best of among "different" equals to serve you. I have the experience base, education, articulation, and energy to stand up for you, to fight for you, and to advocate for you. I go into this representing no "one" but rather "everyone." Vote for change!