Cheney Free Press -

A little Q & A with Medical Lake's City Council candidates


November 2, 2017

Monica Manza

(Editor's Note: Some portions of responses may have been edited for space concerns.)

Medical Lake Council Position No. 1

John Paikuli ran unopposed in August but now has Monica Manza, who ran unsuccessfully for Position No. 2, as a write-in opponent.

How do you feel about Medical Lake's policing, contracting with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office:

Paikuli: I'm quite happy with the Sheriff and the service they provide. They have been professional, responsive and our level of liability is much less than with our own department. If we start our own it will cost us more and we always struggled to keep officers here as they used us to get training and then move to higher paying agencies.

Manza: I think the city can do better.  Let's look at renegotiating the contract. I know there are citizens who feel that our city is ignored and the response times are very slow. I would consider a MLPD if the city can afford it and have a chief that is ethical and hires the best people. Community safety is foremost and we do not have continuous coverage, which leaves us vulnerable.

What about the challenge of growth?

Paikuli: I love Medical Lake and have stayed here for the small town atmosphere, our small businesses and tight-knit school district. I love being able to travel eight minutes and enjoy the commercialization of Airway Heights, travel 12 minutes and enjoy the university atmosphere of Cheney, or travel 16 minutes to the bustle of Spokane while still enjoying our small town. Manza: Growth is good and Medical Lake can learn to adjust. We already have empty lots and houses, some are for sale, some rentals and some in foreclosure. We will have more opportunities for grants if we are over 5,000 because the competition would be less and there are less than 200 cities in Washington at the 5,000 plus population.

What about issues with water on the West Plains?

Paikuli: The state has limited us by restricting our ability to drill more wells. This means we have three choices: 1. Tie into Spokane and purchase water from them at much higher rates than we're used to and risk possible annexation; 2. We can further limit the amount of water each household can use to make room for more hookups; 3. Lastly, we can accept our city as it is and grow to the limit of our last hookups, which is my preference.

Manza: There are ways of collecting water, how about a reserve tank, rain water collection. Although the expense would be greater, we could hook up with Spokane water. If absolutely needed, the possibility of taping into the state wells, or drilling a well. 

Pick an issue:

John Paikuli

Paikuli: There's been lots of talk of expanding services in our city with our own police force and a full time fire department. All of these ideas take money. We are fortunate to finally be 100 percent out of debt and free up some more money. It might be the year to look at a couple of full-time EMTs. However, anything further and we will have to wonder what existing services we are going to give up to add something more.

Manza: The fire department and its operations are very important, including hiring a full time chief and staff. Listening to the citizens is key and we need to make the City Council meetings more accessible using technology. I would hold town hall forums for the citizens to ask questions. Open government with transparency is needed.  


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