Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | ‘FAIRS’ questions to be posed

To the editor:

Here are the questions that will be presented to the Island County Commissioner District 1 candidates at the FAIRS (Freeland Advocates for Informed Responsible Solutions) forum on Sunday, July 22, at the Trinity Lutheran Annex building at 2 p.m. We encourage you to publish these questions as soon as possible so the voting public can ponder them and then attend the event to hear the candidates’ answer. The questions have already been given to all five candidates via email; they have all accepted our invitation to attend.

1. Given that so many governments are virtually bankrupt at all levels, what do you see as your roll or action item in getting and keeping Island County solvent and viable for a long and healthy future?

2. How would you get legitimate input before authorizing the county to take significant action in deciding on the future of a particular community? (Freeland is a good example; it can go wrong very quickly).

3. Some recent county transportation plans include a Langley funicular, Island Transit expansion, bike paths, multi-modal lanes, and traffic roundabouts. What do you think the county should do or press for in transportation?

4. During recent years, property values have dropped, inflation has eaten away at fixed incomes, and wages have remained flat. What are your comments on the increase in taxes and new fees coming out of Coupeville?

5. Under what circumstances would you raise taxes or impose new fees without a vote of the people? … and would you respect and abide by a petition of 60 percent of the voters against new taxes or fees?

6. When facing the competing intent of developers and residents how do you decide who wins and who loses?

7. The Freeland NMUGA (non municipal urban growth area) and the related Freeland sub-area plan currently defines and encourages a population growth of 5,000 to 6,000 people in Freeland next to Holmes Harbor. Why is this a good idea?

8. The Freeland Water and Sewer District has acknowledged that the 2010 Freeland Comprehensive Sewer Plan needs to be redesigned and re-phased due to economic, technical and demographic reasons. The research of the citizen advisory committee resulted in growth analysis showing almost zero growth in Freeland. In the fall of 2010, the land use densities in the Freeland Subarea Plan were increased by 25 percent based on out-of-date demographic data. If elected commissioner, what process would you put in place to evaluate the Freeland Subarea Plan with the objective to downward revise the land use element to make it consistent with current and ongoing demographic, economic and technical changes?

9. What is your interpretation of the Growth Management Act regarding the sewering of all parcels within an UGA boundary?

10. What do you see as the function of the Council of Governments and should public input be allowed at COG meetings?

11. During the property assessment process of the recently failed $40 million Freeland sewer project, property owners were told by certain elected county and local district officials that if they “… can’t pay their sewer assessment, they will lose their property,” which would most likely have resulted in substantial foreclosures being commenced by the county. What actions would you propose to prevent such devastating losses to both the property owners and the county economic base?

12. Island County is a member of ICLEI, the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,” which became in 2003 ‘ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability’ with a mandate for local governments to address sustainability issues. What does this mean to you?

Pam Neschke

FAIRS secretary


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