In order to provide voters with information about Mill Creek City Council candidates, six questions were posed to each candidate in the August 6, 2013 primary election. The three candidates for Mill Creek City Council seat number one are Sean Kelly, Herbie Martin, and Lynn Sordel.
Ballots for the August 6th primary election will be mailed on July 18, 2013. The 2013 Snohomish County Primary Voter’s Information Pamphlet was mailed on July 17, 2013.
Here are the questions and each seat number one candidate’s answers:
Note – Sean Kelly is the third candidate for Mill Creek City Council seat number one. Kelly did not respond to emails or a phone call asking for information about his candidacy.
Question 1: Why did you decide to run for the Mill Creek City Council?
Mahatma Gandi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." The only way for me to affect change in Mill Creek is to be the change agent on the City Council.
I would like to see the City Council be more proactive than reactive and engage more with the community, the residents and the business leaders. I want to build more engagement with the residents of Mill Creek from the school kids to the elderly. My goal is to bring diversity and a fresh perspective to the City Council.
The decisions made in the next four years are critical to build momentum for the next 10 to 15 years of our City.
I served my country for twenty years, I’m now serving the most vulnerable and disadvantaged at the Department of Health and Human Services, and now I’d like to serve my City.
I decided to run for the City Council position number one because of my love for this community. I want to devote my time and energy to help Mill Creek thrive. Also, when the Council appointed me to this position last year, I promised to run so I am fulfilling my commitment.
I want to state that my decisions will represent what is best for this community. I have no other political ambitions and will not use this position to enhance a political career or opportunity. I am running to serve the community I love. Thank you for this opportunity.
Question 2: What qualities do you have that would make you an effective City Councilmember?
I have extensive leadership experience with a number of organizations, which can be utilized as a City Councilmember.
Recently I’ve been appointed to the 400,000-member Washington State Labor Council - Standing Diversity Committee, North Seattle Community College as a Vice President. I was previously elected to Union Local 843’s Executive Board. Union Local 843 is the second largest union in the State. I’m also the executive director of a non-profit veterans organization.
As a healthcare recruiter for the United States Army I traveled extensively in the Western United States. Altogether I’ve been to 40 states and 12 countries with the United States Army.
I believe my strengths are the fact I have spent 30 years of my life in public service. I have a clear vision and understanding of how an efficient and effective city should operate. I have also been involved in the implementation of many strategic plans that have provided the impetus to great things and accomplishments. Throughout my career I have developed critical thinking skills necessary to advance these objectives. I have also dedicated the past five years to serve this community as a volunteer and now as an appointed Councilmember.
Question 3: In your opinion, what makes Mill Creek a great place to live?
Mill Creek is a wonderful place. It’s safe, has good schools, and is a great place to raise your family. That’s why I moved here from Silver Lake.
Mill Creek has many desirable characteristics. If elected, I pledge to promote those policies necessary to retain all of the quality of life aspects we enjoy. These include:
- Strong and dedicated public safety
- A vibrant business community and a focus on additional economic development
- A strong focus on the city's physical infrastructure
- Protecting our valuable open spaces and environment
- Responsible and efficient fiscal policies
- Retaining the wonderful events and recreational activities that connect our community
- Managing growth so Mill Creek preserves its identity and community pride
Question 4: What are the top three City issues that you would like to see the City Council address?
1. I want the City to be financially responsible for economic development for our future. Right now too much of the overall tax burden is provided by property taxes. We need to promote economic development to generate more revenue from sales tax.
2. We need to be very cautions about future annexations. Our annexation priority should be to bring in higher proportions of sales tax compared to property tax. This may mean that we focus on areas which are already commercially developed.
3. We need to control development of taxable land in our township to maximize revenue. It’s necessary to balance development to bring people into the City to generate sales tax revenue. We need to create attractions in Mill Creek for people to stop and spend some time and some money. This will increase sales tax revenue and property tax revenue.
1. The continuation of a prudent and responsible fiscal policy. The city must to look for ways to maintain fiscal prudence and accountability. I believe the management team and staff have worked very hard to evaluate the services the city provides, but an efficient government is of the utmost importance to our residents. I support efforts that create partnerships and collaborative thinking. We have some unique opportunities ahead were we can apply that kind of thinking (school district field improvements at Jackson H.S.). Also , we are now in a position to strengthen our local economy with the development of the East Gateway Urban Village.
I am committed to continuing and improving upon a prudent and responsible fiscal policy. A focus on the optimization of budgets, innovation in service provision and use of new technologies where appropriate and cost-effective is central to my operational perspective.
2. I sincerely believe the city should continue to provide a strong focus and dedicated effort to retain the existing businesses that we have. Also, we should do everything possible to create a business "climate" that will attract new business. We must be sensitive to the changing environments that businesses work under and ensure our codes and regulations are conducive to a vibrant business environment. The city has made great strides to attract and maintain our business partners, but we should continue to self-evaluate our overall efforts to create a strong local economic base. If this is done, all of our residents will benefit.
3. Because I have dedicated over 30 years of my career to the preservation and enhancement of the quality of life issues that are so important to our community, I will work hard to maintain Mill Creek's community character. I will never lose sight of what makes our city so attractive and vibrant. Our special events that connect our community and the natural beauty we all cherish must be maintained. We should take steps to ensure we can be a walkable city, where we can enjoy the beauty of the area, and interact with others. Finally, I want to make sure we can feel safe in our beautiful environment. All of these issues were part of the City's Strategic Plan which Council adopted in 2012.
Question 5: How would you address the City’s current budget issues?
I don’t have the current budget status in front of me, so I can’t give specifics.
As a property owner, increasing taxes would be the last way that I would balance the budget.
We need to be sure our priorities for new public infrastructure are evaluated so that they can be accomplished without burdening the people with higher taxes.
We need to reexamine our spending and might have to make budget cuts in different departments to address any shortfalls.
The city's fiscal matters have improved and we starting to see some key indicators perform at a higher level. Building permits have increased and sales tax revenues have also stabilized.
While this is encouraging news, we must continue to closely monitor spending and provide strong oversight.
I believe the City Manager and his professional staff have worked very hard to evaluate all services and their costs.
As we move forward through the balance of the biennial budget, it will be vital for the staff and Council to continue to communicate and stay on top of these important fiscal matters.
As I previously mentioned, an efficient government is of the utmost importance to our residents.
Question 6: The recently passed State budget reduces the funds it provides to all municipalities including Mill Creek. What steps should the City take to address this shortfall?
The city has a good reserve right now, so this is not a major concern for us at the present time.
In the future we shouldn’t count on revenue from the State. We should focus on living within our means and making good decisions now to increase sales tax revenue.
An example of this is the development of the Mill Creek Town Center, which increased sales tax revenue.
We need to consider out-of-the-box ideas for increasing economic development to overcome any short falls from the State.
At this time, the City does not know the impact to our local budget. The City Manager and staff are working to determine the fiscal consequences and will be reporting this information to the Council very soon. I fully expect we will discuss these matters and deliberate solutions.
It is my hope the State's fiscal issues will not seriously impact our service levels and that we will continue to provide a very high level of quality services to our citizens.