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The Times 

Questions to Waitsburg mayoral candidates

 

October 14, 2021

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Candidates for City of Waitsburg's mayor, Kate Hockersmith and Marty Dunn. Both are committed community advocates with city government experience.

WAITSBURG­-Candidates Kate Hockersmith and Marty Dunn were asked what they saw as challenges to the city in the next four years and how they would address those concerns.

Kate Hockersmith

What challenges do you see for the city in the next four years?

Infrastructure issues have been on my mind since I first ran for City Council in 2016. Many of Waitsburg's assets and much of the essential infrastructure is either beyond its expected lifespan or it hasn't been routinely maintained. The City needs to transition from an emergency maintenance approach to maintain essential infrastructure, to a planned and budgeted routine maintenance or replacement. Every City asset has an anticipated life, which needs to be incorporated into the operations, maintenance and budgeting processes so disruptions in essential services and budget overruns don't occur. We should not be in a situation where a building, like City Hall, needs a major overhaul, to be usable by our city staff.

How would you address these issues as mayor?

Like Walla Walla County, Waitsburg is seeing substantial economic growth which is increasing City revenues as we recover from the pandemic. This is a unique opportunity to address the infrastructure maintenance backlog, as well as restructure the city budget process to maintain what we have. I will work with the City Council and City Manager to revise the budget approach for infrastructure upgrades and replacement that are line item elements to increase transparency and accountability. In addition, I will work with the City Council and City Manager to develop a strategic plan for long term infrastructure maintenance or replacement to maintain essential City services.

Marty Dunn

What challenges do you see for the city in the next four years?

The greatest challenges facing the City of Waitsburg are the deteriorating infrastructure in a climate of diminishing resources (funding needed to maintain and/or repair the infrastructure). It appears that three major concerns of community patrons are 1) the inoperability of the swimming pool, 2) the unsafe conditions of the grandstands at the fairgrounds and 3) the desire to maintain the historic location of the Weller Library. An area which significantly impacts the city is flood control along the Coppei and the Touchet. Additionally, the City must continually monitor and maintain typical city services such as water and sewage quality, street and sidewalk upkeep, as well as upkeep of city properties, such as parks and the cemeteries. With all of these are associated costs. Balancing the needs and wants of our community with the associated costs for maintenance, repairs and preservations are issues with which the City is presented.

How would you address these issues as mayor?

As Mayor, I have the authority to ensure that these issues and concerns are addressed by the City through the Council and city staff action. We have the fiduciary responsibility to represent and maintain the operations of the city to the best of our ability with transparency, integrity, openness and in the best interest of the citizens of Waitsburg, its future growth and sustainably. Having served the Waitsburg community since 2004, I believe my knowledge, experience and passion are valuable assets towards addressing these challenges.

 

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