This is the final week of the newspaper debate between incumbent Darrel Dickson and challenger Kimberly Lauk for City Council Position 2.
Ballots must be postmarked Nov. 3.
The questions were written by the Courier-Herald editorial staff.
You may use up to 300 words to clarify a position, rebut a statement made by your opponent or discuss an issue you believe should be highlighted.
• Kimberly Lauk
Sadly, I am having to use this section to answer Mr. Dickson’s hit pieces he has been mailing out against me and calling citizens about in recent weeks.
85 percent of his attacks are simply untrue and I will not respond to them.
Two issues are true. My husband and I did declare bankruptcy and we did need temporary food assistance.
Here is why: During my last pregnancy three years ago, I got a rare but deadly pregnancy related condition that caused my liver to shut down and almost killed my unborn child. I went though months of difficult, costly and painful procedures to save the life of my baby, including late night visits to the emergency room. This was a really tough time for our family.
The good news is that we made it through this and I have a wonderful little girl. I did what I had to do. I did what any mother would do to save her child. Unfortunately, this caused us to incur significant debt and loans to pay medical bills that weren’t covered.
Eventually, legal action was taken against us and we were forced to declare bankruptcy, something we didn’t want to do. We also had to use some food assistance to make ends meet for a while.
It was tough, and it is very embarrassing that Mr. Dickson and his real estate developer friends are now attacking my family to win this election. It hurts, that is for sure. But we are healthy now and back on our feet. By attacking my family, Mr. Dickson has now decided to make this campaign about character, but I will leave it up to you, the voters, as to what his attacks against my family say about the character of each of us.
• Darrel Dickson
I would like to thank the people of Enumclaw for the opportunity to serve our community the last four years as a council member.
I appreciate your consideration for electing me to serve a second term.
The reason I stepped forward to serve is because I have the leadership, financial education and business experiences that can assist the city navigate through difficult financial challenges. I strongly encourage other leaders with proven track records of success to serve our city. We have very difficult challenges as a city. We need the most experienced, and the brightest minds that are willing to serve to solve current and future problems. I care deeply about the success of our community. My ancestors came here in the 1880s and my future is here raising my six children with my wife Dr. Holly Dickson.
I want to make sure that we have good parks, roads, police services, etc. and are able to take care of our core city assets now and in the future. A summary of a few of the many things that we have been able to accomplish together the last four years as well as other pertinent information that make me qualified to serve is included in the Dickson campaign brochure insert of this paper. Please take the time to read and study the information included.
Solid leadership experience and education is critical to the success of any organization. Electing council members that have a proven success record to lead and care are vital to creating a community where families and businesses can thrive and prosper.
Repairing, maintaining and building roads in Enumclaw is often a subject of discussion at city meetings.
Describe your view of the issues concerning the road system facing Enumclaw and the City Council. Specifically, where will the City Council find money in upcoming budgets for the necessary work and/or improvements to roads?
• Darrel Dickson
Four years ago we had no annual funding source for our local street improvement needs. I am pleased to be one of the founding City Council members who voted in favor of creating the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) in 2013. The TBD provides funding for our roads. These funds can only be used for improvements to our transportation needs as a city.
Since then, I made a proposal in 2014 that was ultimately adopted by the TBD to access approximately $210,000 in annual funding for Enumclaw street improvements. We were able to get this funding without raising property or sales taxes. Some of this funding has been able to be utilized as match dollars for larger grant projects, such as the ones seen recently on Semanski Street and Highway 410. Very little city dollars were used in order to leverage grants from varying state or federal agencies to fund these projects. We now have a funding source dedicated towards improving our roads, which also includes neighborhood streets.
However, the job is not done. We currently have $3.5 million dollars in road repairs that need to be fixed. To simply maintain our pavement infrastructure costs $500,000 plus every year.
The council has taken positive steps to begin to address this issue, and is looking at other options for long term solutions. My expertise in business and finance are well suited to help in this process. You need a council member that can understand the complex issues such as funding our streets, and that can provide and execute positive plans that work. I hope to continue to work hard on this for you as your city councilman the next four years.
• Kimberly Lauk
The city has secured some funds from impact fees for local roads, to some degree, but that is not the real issue, it is the connecting and regional infrastructure issues relating to transportation that the current council has fallen flat on and has failed to represent our interests in.
Anyone driving on our roads onto or off of the Plateau knows this is true and it is getting worse by the day. Last week in this debate, Mr. Dickson said that he will find federal and state tax dollars to pay for these projects so local citizens don’t pay the costs, but he ignores the fact that Enumclaw citizens pay those very federal and state taxes and that the federal money requires significant additional local matching funds – they are not free tax dollars from some imaginary source – they are our taxes dollars that we paid.
Mr. Dickson and his real estate developer friends want to make money without paying their fair share and shift the cost to us. I have a better idea: development should pay for itself.
I support responsible development that is properly planned after infrastructure is in place so current residents are not stuck with the bill and developers walk away with the profits. This means that the interests of citizens come first. When a landowner wants high-rise high-density commercial buildings like the project that this council approved earlier this year and Mr. Dickson voted yes on, I will be your voice and say no.
Describe what you believe will be the No. 1 problem (or problems) facing Enumclaw during the next four years; also provide your solution. If it takes money to solve the problems, where will the money come from in the budget?
• Kimberly Lauk
The single biggest problem facing Enumclaw in the coming years will be poorly planned and uncontrolled growth. Most other problems for Enumclaw will come from this issue: Traffic, crime, fire department resources, open space and keeping Enumclaw a safe place for families, small business and seniors, are interconnected with how Enumclaw grows and who pays for that growth.
Mr. Dickson has advocated for a Walmart and Fred Meyer as a member of the Enumclaw CED Committee. I disagree because these big box stores have been shown to destroy existing small businesses in towns like ours around the country. We need to protect our small businesses because they are the backbone of our local economy and part of our quality of life.
Mr. Dickson has worked for almost two years now trying to overturn the development ban on the Thomas Farm so it can be developed, along with property in the White River Tree Farm. I disagree with this vision because I think farmland and timberlands are an important part of our community. We need to protect and support them, not develop them.
High density housing that has occurred under the watch of this council has houses so close together that our fire department needed new equipment to be able to access such narrow distances between houses to rescue people, but we were stuck with the costs. This is an example of poor planning and an anything-goes attitude for developers and real estate speculators. We need properly planned growth.
If Enumclaw looks like Federal Way in 10 years, we will look back to this day and wonder what people were thinking and why developers were not held accountable. Why not do it correctly in the first place, and have planned, responsible growth – everybody wins and it is fair for all.
• Darrel Dickson
Finance is the city’s biggest problem. Parks, police services, roads, etc. are impacted by the city’s ability to meet financial obligations.
Faced with very difficult financial challenges as a city, I explore and discuss options available, and do research prior to making city decisions. For instance by asking a few questions about the Enumclaw gas line negotiations with PSE and Buckley, I was able to help obtain an extra $300,000 for Enumclaw city utility customers.
During my first term in office as an Enumclaw city councilman the annual deficit has been reduced by more than 50 percent. We have done this by having modest quality growth. I favor increasing revenues by having a small amount of quality growth in both home and business construction, but slow enough to insure that the charm and beauty of our city is maintained. With this strategy we have been able to create jobs, and with the extra revenues we have cut our annual deficit by more than 50 percent.
I have worked diligently to insure that your city is financially stable for our needs and the needs of our future generations. The City Council said no to city money being used for a public firework show when we have city streets that need improvements. That is being financially responsible. I showed leadership to solve the problem by helping the community raise private funds to continue the tradition of a Enumclaw firework Independence Day celebration.
The solution to our financial problems is to elect leaders that care about the city and have a successful track record of fixing financial problems and helping businesses succeed. I am running for another term to help our community’s families and businesses thrive and prosper and to meet the city’s financial challenges.