By Doug Petrowski
Six women and three men are in the running to fill the Mountlake Terrace City Council Position No. 5 vacated by former councilmember Michelle Robles on June 28. The applicants will be interviewed by the six current city council members at a special meeting on Tuesday in council chambers at interim City Hall, 6100-219th St. S.W., Suite 200, at 6 p.m. Following the interviews, the council will select the individual to serve on the council through November 2013.
The nine applicants for the open City Council seat are Andrew Funk, Carol Gilbert, Cheryal Heppner, Kimberly (Kim) Michel, Annie Nygaard, Christina O’Brien, Adam Piekkola, Karen Van Haaften and Bryan Wahl.
Most of the applicants are serving now, or have served in the past, on various volunteer advisory boards for the city; four of the nine have run in recent elections for a council position.
The applicants will be interviewed in the open meeting individually beginning with Funk, then proceeding alphabetically. All applicants will be asked to wait their turn outside of the council chambers to prevent them from hearing the questions prior to their interview.
Upon completion of all nine interviews, Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith will recess the meeting in order for the current councilmembers to go into executive session to discuss and evaluate the applicants. Once back into public session, the council will nominate applicants for the open position, then take a roll call vote to select the new council member. A nominated applicant will need at least four votes from the six councilmembers to be selected.
The selected applicant will be sworn in and resume council duties on Monday, Aug. 20.
Each of the nine applicants submitted written answers to questions concerning their experience, interests and understanding concerning their lives and involvement in Mountlake Terrace. When asked in the written application process what they thought was the most important issue facing Mountlake Terrace, most of the applicants pointed to development and economic challenges.
“I feel the most important issue facing the city is the need to bring in new revenue for the city to help us ensure that our city stays financially solvent,” answered Heppner.
Applicant Carol Gilbert was specific regarding where growth in Mountlake Terrace should occur. “We need to focus on generating economic development in the proposed downtown revitalization area to ensure continued growth of the city,” she said. Karen Van Haaften answered similarly; “I think the most important issue facing our city is how to revitalize downtown and draw businesses and people into the city.”
Applicant Bryan Wahl gave a little more cautious answer when addressing the city’s need for economic growth, saying, “It is important for our city to continue to provide sufficient housing and jobs to accommodate growth, while balancing the city’s need for infrastructure and economic development with the high quality of life, standard of living, and incredible environment and park system we enjoy in Mountlake Terrace.”
Applicant Annie Nygaard wrote of “finding a balance between growth, income from businesses and our population.”
Other issues seen by applicants as important in Mountlake Terrace included infrastructure improvements, public transit, civic communication and building a new civic center.