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Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

City services, property taxes key in Oak Harbor mayor, council races

OAK HARBOR -- Voters have choices on the Nov. 8 ballot in the mayoral race and each of the council positions up for election in this city of about 20,000.
Incumbent Mayor Jim Slowik is challenged by City Councilman Scott Dudley. The mayor in Oak Harbor is paid about $51,000 a year.
Slowik is concerned about Oak Harbor's quality of life, the economy, the environment, the city's aging infrastructure, planning and city budget management, according to his statement for the Island County's online voters guide. Slowik defends the city's $8 million project to revitalize Pioneer Way because of its expected boost to the city's economy and the replacement of the aging sewer and stormwater system.
Dudley lists his opposition to raising property taxes and utility rates, along with building a new sewer treatment plant at Windjammer Park. He wants adherence to the state Open Public Meetings Act and wants to ensure that Oak Harbor High School has a police officer on hand, he said.
In the race for Position 1 on the council, former councilman Paul Brewer is running against newcomer Tara Hizon (Wentland). They were the top two vote getters in the primary election, knocking Mark Wiggins and Martha Yount from the race. Jim Palmer, who currently holds the council seat, decided not to run. Oak Harbor City Council members earn $596 a month and receive a medical benefits package.
In the voters guide, Brewer said he wants to see the city build its own solid waste transfer facility and increase its recycling program. Brewer also wants to ensure that the city follows the open meetings act and wants to see more involvement by people who live in Oak Harbor.
A longtime community volunteer, Hizon is the owner of a small business. In a statement before the primary election, Hizon said she wants to work to reverse the trend of declining property values in Island County and is eager to see construction of a wastewater treatment plant so that the city is in compliance with state rules governing clean water.
Former councilman Larry Eaton is challenging incumbent Councilwoman Beth Munns for the Position 2 seat on the council. Along with her council duties, Munns has made several trips to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the continued presence of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor. A retired teacher, Eaton previously served two terms on the council.
Incumbent Position 3 Councilman Rick Almberg is being challenged by Mel Vance, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council twice before, once against Alberg. Vance frequently attends City Council meetings. Almberg is a former city planning commissioner.
Other contested races in Island County include:
•The Oak Harbor School Board Position 2 race between PTA leader, parent and community volunteer Christine Abbott and retired Navy officer and middle school science teacher John Worthington.
Laura Blankenship and Mike Diamanti are running for a six-year term on Port Commission of Coupeville.
Jim Sundberg faces Robin Adams and Thomas Gill faces Bruce Allen for seats on the Langley City Council.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;
Story tags » CoupevilleLangleyOak HarborLocal elections

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