Gold Bar mayoral candidates want to buttress city finances

GOLD BAR — The two candidates running for mayor here said that if elected, they’d like to shore up the city’s finances.

Elizabeth LaZella and Linda Loen are the choices Gold Bar voters have on their Nov. 5 ballots. Incumbent Mayor Joe Beavers isn’t running for re-election.

LaZella, 63, a retired respiratory therapist, moved to Gold Bar nearly 20 years ago. She served as an appointed member of the Gold Bar City Council from mid-2012 until resigning in February for health reasons. She said’s she’s a stickler for rules who’s “kind of feisty,” but open to other viewpoints.

“It doesn’t have to be done my way,” she said. “If there’s a better way of doing things, then let’s do it.”

LaZella said there are chances to cut unnecessary expenses from the budget, and cites the example from her time on the council of eliminating a portable toilet from a city park.

Loen, 57, has never held public office and gives a straightforward answer about why she’s seeking the mayor’s job.

“I’m running because I read a news article that said that nobody was running,” she said.

Loen, who moved to town in 2007, has been working in temporary accounting jobs, but is not a certified public accountant.

She’s been reading up on concerns the state auditor has raised about Gold Bar’s finances and wants to make sure the city makes recommended improvements.

“Basic accounting structures are missing,” she said.

Gold Bar has a population of about 2,080. The city’s annual operating budget hovers around $550,000, but has declined in recent years.

Recent issues in Gold Bar have included the expense of responding to public records requests from local political activists.

In November 2012, nearly 57 percent of Gold Bar voters rejected a proposal to raise property taxes to help pay for city legal costs related to the records requests. The same year, the city considered taking the more drastic step of dissolving itself as a legal entity and reverting to an unincorporated part of Snohomish County.

This year’s mayoral race in Gold Bar attracted no candidates during the original filing period in May. Three Gold Bar residents applied to run after the county opened a special filing period in August.

One of the candidates, Larry Dum, later decided to drop out of the race for health reasons. His decision came too late to remove his name from the ballot.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Meet the candidates

The job: At stake is a four-year term as Gold Bar’s mayor. The job pays about $300 per month or $3,600 per year.

Elizabeth LaZella

Age: 63

Experience: retired respiratory therapist at VA hospitals; former appointed member of the Gold Bar City Council; U.S. Army

Website: none

Linda Loen

Age: 57

Experience: accounting; U.S. Air Force

Website: none

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