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Council races leave starting gates

POULSBO — In the Poulsbo City Council races for the Nov. 4 election, incumbent Jackie Aitchison will face Connie Lord for position 2 and Jeff McGinty’s bid for re-election in position 4 will be challenged by Elizabeth Hutley.

Below are answers to questions the Herald asked of each candidate in the contested races.

Councilman Mike Regis is running unopposed for position 1 and Councilman Jim Henry is unopposed for position 3. They were not asked to respond.

Questions

1.) Why do you want to serve the city in this capacity?

2.) What are your qualifications?

3.) What sets you apart from your opponent?

4.) What is the biggest problem facing the city? How would you solve it?

5.) What facet of city services, departments or government do you feel should be changed during the next four years? How will you implement this change?

Poulsbo City Council Position 2

Jackie Aitchison

1.) It has been a privilege and an honor to work for the citizens for the last 12 years. I’d like the opportunity to continue to use my knowledge and experience I’ve gained to better our community.

2.) I have served on city council for the last 12 years and was on the Poulsbo Planning Commission for 2 1/2 years prior to council. I have served on all of the city council’s committees and have a thorough knowledge of all our city’s departments. I have completed the Association of Washington’s Cities Municipal leadership program. Over the years I have attended many seminars and workshops to gain education on all facets of city government. My 12 years experience and record proves I can do the job.

3.) I have been serving the citizens for the past 12 years. After being appointed to council in January 1992, I was elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1995 and 1999. Serving as the council’s representative to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, I am well connected on a regional level. Serving on the Puget Sound Council, a state board representing all Puget Sound Cities, I am knowledgeable about issues facing cities. I have a proven record of committed hard work and dedication to our community.

4.) The city’s biggest problem is holding the line on expenses while maintaining decent levels of service. Balancing growth and meeting the demands it brings is part of the problem. The 225-acre Olhava development will require increased service from our police, fire and public works departments. Monitoring and maintaining the stormwater ponds will be a big task. Maintenance of the new city park will be necessary. The police must respond to the increased calls. There will be an increase in property and sales tax revenue. The city must earmark these revenues to provide the resources for our departments to meet the needs.

5.) Having just completed a study to analyze where the city could be more efficient, several areas were identified for improvement. I think efficiencies could be realized by reorganizing the planning and engineering departments into a Department of Community Development. The land use process would be easier, more thorough and quicker. The council needs to reinstitute the fifth Wednesday Public Open Houses to improve communications and increase citizen involvement. We need to better utilize our Web site. I will lobby and work with my fellow council members to make this happen.

Connie Lord

1.) Community members have approached me to serve another term. This encouragement is partly due to their questioning the lack of balanced decision making by the incumbent Jackie Aitchison in Position #2.

2.) Besides my four years’ experience on the Poulsbo City Council (1998-2001), I have extensive experience as a community volunteer and ownership of my own business for 13 years.

3.) Poulsbo needs balanced, reasonable representation. Jackie appears to have given up the practical approach in dealing with the city’s issues. During Olhava/Wal-Mart hearings, she acted like an appellant rather than a balanced evaluator of all the facts. She violated the process and continuously expressed disbelief of the staff information. This is an adversarial position to her council role.

Her agenda is environmental issues and limited to this focus. She acts like this is all the community is worried about. The community’s real agenda, and mine, is about controlling utility rates, transportation frustration and promoting sound economic progress.

4.) Keeping our infrastructure costs manageable for the citizens and for the future. I will support staff’s efforts to develop long-range comprehensive plans in order to direct the financial investment.

5.) Currently the city has conducted a long overdue Process Study and has developed some substantial recommendations. Highlighted points include the integration of software technology to get more done with less labor, and cost savings strategies for improved services to the community. The Process Study reveals the areas in need of improvement. I welcome this Process Study and compliment the council for their farsightedness and look forward to discussion of the potentials and working on the recommended changes.

Poulsbo City Council Position 4

Jeff McGinty

1.) I have truly enjoyed serving the citizens of Poulsbo as their council representative for the past 12 years and would be honored to serve another four. My wife Julie and I have a 12-year-old daughter Kerri and a 9-year-old son Craig. We cannot think of a better place to raise our family. Serving for the past 12 years has allowed me to provide leadership in shaping the beautiful city we enjoy today. Olympic College, the new library, a cleaner Liberty Bay and the redevelopment of Poulsbo Place are a small fraction of the great things we accomplished.

2.) I am completing my 12th year as a Poulsbo council member and have been Deputy Mayor since 1999. I have a strong background and understanding of city government and the challenges it faces in keeping up with demands. I have a vast knowledge of the issues facing Poulsbo and experience dealing with the challenges faced in the past. My formal education includes a B.S. degree in electrical engineering and continuous education in business, management and supervision. I am currently a division head at Keyport responsible for overseeing a program involving over 50 engineers and technicians.

3.) My experience, willingness to listen, dedication and knowledge of city government sets me apart from my opponent. Having lived in Poulsbo for over 20 years, I’ve developed a strong passion for the city and its heritage. During my 14 years in city government, I’ve worked hard to preserve and enhance the many things we value and enjoy. Change will always happen. Making good change is the challenge. My record shows the ability to make decisions with an open mind, supporting what is best for the whole city and not by special interest pressure and emotion.

4.) Traffic congestion on highway 305 is probably one of the most visible problems facing Poulsbo. Major upgrades to 305 were schedules in 2003, but were not executed as a result of state funding cutbacks. As the county grows, regional population places more and more demands on city infrastructure. Right now, the city is working on a plan to improve the Bond Road intersection and provide additional lanes by 2006. Although this will help the immediate area, we need to continue working closely with the county in identifying and implementing an overall regional solution.

5.) As the city grows, higher demands are placed on city services. Like most businesses, Poulsbo’s highest expense is staffing and the challenge of controlling these costs. In a proactive effort to support future demands and control costs, we initiated a process study of all departments. The study was just completed and provides council with greater insight into department functions, processes and the services provided. Working with the departments, council and the mayor, we will look at technological, organizational and process improvements to increase departmental efficiencies, while maintaining high service levels, taking on growth and controlling costs.

Elizabeth Hutley

1.) I became interested and was encouraged to run for city council while attending hearings on the Olhava development project. During the appeal, it became apparent there was a need for checks and balances in the development process; a proactive process to solve increased demands on the city infrastructure (traffic, sewage, stormwater); and an increase in community outreach. I would like to address these issues and represent the community for Poulsbo’s future.

2.) I have a Bachelor of Science degree in marine science with an emphasis in biology. I have worked with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service and United States Fish and Wildlife. In addition, I have extensive experience in hospital management, which required me to understand budgetary issues, prioritizing of operational needs and employee/customer relations. The blending of my environmental experience with that of my administrative experience allows me to approach the city council with a well-rounded view for growth.

3.) I will bring new perspectives and ideas to the city council. I am motivated and have a schedule that permits me to research issues set before the city council as well as take advantage of educational opportunities. This will assist me in making the most informed choices for Poulsbo. In addition, I am accessible to the community. I can be contacted by phone, by mail and e-mail. I encourage as well as respect the ideas and concerns of the community and believe that the primary purpose of the city council is to achieve the citizens’ objectives for the future of Poulsbo.

4.) Poulsbo is a rapidly growing city. It is projected to more than double its population within 15 years. In order to meet the needs of the current and future population, development must be held to high standards and these standards need to be maintained. Some of the greatest issues facing Poulsbo’s growth will be developmental regulations, management of stormwater and sewage and managing high density traffic. These can be achieved, while maintaining the special character of Poulsbo, through the strict adherence to an established system of checks and balances during the development process. In addition, community involvement needs to be a positive rather than a reactive experience. Soliciting citizen input for decisions regarding future development is essential.

5.) The Planning, Engineering and Public Works departments will continue to influence Poulsbo’s future development. These departments need to balance developmental needs while ensuring best management practices. The City of Poulsbo Comprehensive Plan identifies goals and methods for future development. However, the terminology used to describe these methods is vague and needs to be clearly defined. I believe the city staff is professional and can achieve these goals with the assistance of a motivated city council.

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