October 10, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 25

Maike and Kennedy cite finances and growth as priorities for ML

City Council Position 2

Shirley Maike is the incumbent in Medical Lake’s race for Position 2 on the City Council.

For her, the current city council, mayor and administration at City Hall have done a good job of maintaining the city’s finances. She’s running to keep that in place.

“The city is in a good position both fiscally and from a public safety standpoint,” she said.

Maike cited maintaining the city’s infrastructure as something on her list for the next term, as well as finding resources to be able to have that level of upkeep continue.

“With the limited resources we have, how do we find additional resources and be able to prioritize what needs to be done first,” she asked.

Also on her list for the next term, is making sure the city’s police services are providing adequate assistance that residents want. If there are some other additions to the service provided by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Maike said it would behoove the city to see if those are available to increase the level of service in Medical Lake.

“If we need to change that to look at additional resources from the county, then we should explore alternatives,” she said.

Maike also said she’s interested in seeing what sort of reimbursements the state can provide for the city’s police service responding to incidents at Eastern State Hospital and Lakeland Village. Currently, Medical Lake is billed for each emergency response involving police or fire units.

A challenge facing the city in her view is a continued lack of appropriate resources to fund projects. Although the city continues to search for grants and other sources to fund road repairs and other maintenance items, it’s a continuing challenge.

In terms of increasing revenue, Maike said approaching the state regarding its fire and police situation at the state facilities is near the top of the list. Having that revenue to pay for the emergency service responses would free up a good amount of money for other projects.

Also, identifying pay-as-you-go city services could be an option, she said.

During her time on the council, Maike said she’s worked hard to ensure garbage and sewer rates haven’t increased, and would continue to remain steady.

In closing, she encourages residents to come to a City Council meeting and be involved in the local government.

“It’s always nice to have people involved,” she said.

Don Kennedy is challenging Maike for Position 2 on the City Council.

Kennedy previously ran for an open City Council position two years ago. Earlier this year, he noticed no one was challenging an incumbent and decided to step in to fill that void.

“I think it’s a duty for citizens to participate in government,” he said.

For Kennedy, finances at the level of local government are always crucial. Keeping track of the budget and ensuring it’s balanced is a priority.

“It seems to be what citizens notice most is services,” he said. “You like the fire deparment to work, you like a police force that’s active, roads that are decent and water to run.”

Another area on which he’d focus is growth in Medical Lake, ensuring that something is done about the business community in the city. Kennedy hopes some modernization and improvements are made to the local businesses.

He said the way the current system works includes a large amount of pressure from the state and federal government.

“There is pressure from other superior political units on what to do,” he said.

Kennedy said local governments are meant to have a healthy amount of influence, and where residents should direct their attention.

Among the challenges facing the city, he said, include providing services that people need without increasing costs.

“That’s somewhat difficult to do,” he said.

He doesn’t see increasing taxes as beneficial in that area, preferring to see if there are ways to cut budgets and make the city manage its funds more effectively.

When asked about increasing revenues, Kennedy said he wasn’t sure whether higher revenues or examining cost savings for the city would be more beneficial.

“Is the city currently doing things they don’t need to do,” he asked.

Kennedy also mentioned that for special projects, some that last longer than typical ones, bonds would be one potential way to generate funds.

In conclusion, Kennedy stressed the importance of involvement in local government, whether that’s at the city council or on a school board.

“It’s every citizen’s duty,” he said.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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