Budget cuts, growth key concerns in Arlington city races
Longtime council members Marilyn Oertle and Dick Butner have no challengers.
In the Position 4 race, council member Sally Lien is facing Randy Tendering, an Arlington school bus driver.
Former fire chief Jim Rankin and Snohomish County planning commissioner Ken Klein are vying for the at-large seat. Council member Linda Byrnes chose not to run for re-election to the two-year position.
City council members are paid $400 a month, but can ask to be compensated for workshops and other meetings they attend at a rate of $50 each, but not to exceed an additional $400 per month.
Tendering, 59, the former owner of a small business, said he wants bring fresh ideas to the council. It may be that some city employees should be laid off to cut expenses and balance the budget, he said.
"It's difficult to cut people, but we need to return to the staffing levels of 10 years ago," Tendering said. "I am disturbed by the idea instead of raising taxes and fees, which will just drive people and business away. I see lots of empty houses and storefronts around the city."
Lien, 77, who works at the Insurance Center of Everett, has served more than 16 years on the City Council and hopes to make it to a full 20.
"I am running again because leaving my seat now would be an act of cowardice. We are faced with a budget shortfall and have tough decisions to make," Lien said. "A lot of people are living on the edge, so I want to make sure utility rates are as equitable as possible and still allow us to pay the bills."
Lien said she is sad that Mayor Margaret Larson is retiring at the end of the year.
"Margaret brought to the city an era of upbeat commitment, which shows in the great number of people who volunteer to help the city," Lien said. "Though funding is tight, we must continue to enhance the quality of life in Arlington."
Klein, 32, works as a district accounting manager for a multi-national food service company based in Everett. He served two years on the city planning commission before being appointed to the county planning commission. Klein is seeking a spot on the council because he grew up in Arlington and cares for his city, he said.
"I get along with everybody, and if elected I would be the only one on the council with a financial management background," Klein said. "I know the county issues, I have good project management skills and am able to do cost benefit and risk analyses."
Arlington is in a position to support light manufacturing by making use of the state highways and railroad that run through it, and the city needs to be ready to attract jobs when the economy turns around, Klein said.
Rankin, 72, served 50 years in the fire service, the last five as chief of the Arlington Fire Department. Now that he is retired, Rankin wants to continue serving the city as a member of the council.
"As a former member of the city's senior management team, I understand the budget process. And I know from my experience as an interim assistant city manager in Oceanside, Calif., that I can handle budget shortfalls," Rankin said. "I know how to juggle a lot at the same time."
His experience as the city's fire chief should be valuable on the council, Rankin said.
Arlington City Council
Occupation: Bookkeeper, councilwoman
Priorities: Treat tax revenue properly; retain upbeat and open government; pursue city annexations.
Occupation: Arlington school bus driver
Priorities: Reduce water, sewer rates; lay off employees; fix city streets and ask the state for help on the 172nd/Highway 531 corridor.
Occupation: Financial manager, county planning commissioner
Priorities: Attract light manufacturing; focus on jobs at home; get tourists off the freeway and into downtown Arlington.
Occupation: Retired fire chief
Priorities: Foster continuing partnerships with the school district and hospital; retain economic viability; foster community involvement in city planning.
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