‘Growth’ in Monroe is debatable for political newcomers

Development, traffic, school zone safety and downtown development are some of the issues being discussed by two first-time office seekers in the race for position 3 on the Monroe City Council.

Jeff Rasmussen, a former president of the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce, said he would like to see growth occur in a sensible manner with a mix of residential, small business, larger commercial and industrial development.

Mike Stanger said that when he hears the term “sensible growth,” “in my mind that means no growth,” which he said could lead to higher taxes.

The coming of Walmart to the city, after a protracted battle, has been an issue debated in this as well as other city races.

Rasmussen said the city has spent too many years debating and fighting over whether to allow the proposed Walmart store to be built.

Regardless of how people may now feel about it, the company is coming to Monroe and purchasing land, he said. “I believe it will attract other business to that area.”

Once the city pays off its current debt, money needs to be reinvested into the downtown core, Rasmussen said. “I feel like we’ve lost focus in our downtown and attracting local businesses.”

Stanger said that to have a sustainable economic base the city needs both big box stores like Walmart and smaller businesses. “I think you can have both,” he said. “One can help the other.”

The land bought by Walmart was sitting unused while the city paid taxes on it, he said. “I supported the sale of the land.”

Stanger said he sees the city’s historic downtown as a place for festivals and community events. “It can bring a sense of community to have a nice downtown,” he said.

Rasmussen said he would like to find a way to extend the Centennial Trail from Snohomish to Monroe and possibly on to Sultan or Duvall. That would not only increase recreational opportunities but allow people to commute to work by bicycle between Snohomish and Monroe, he said.

On safety issues, Rasmussen said he applauds the council’s decision to not renew the traffic camera contract. But the city needs to discuss how to make school zones safer, including whether the cameras should be kept strictly in school zones, he said.

“We don’t have the resources within our police department to sit someone out there in our school zones to monitor this,” he said.

Stanger said that one option for increasing school zone safety is to install monitoring equipment that posts the speeds of approaching drivers with flashing lights when school is in session.

Stanger said he thinks that cities that install traffic cameras do so because they want the revenue. “It obviously slows the speeds but I think it’s a money generator, really,” he said.

One of the city’s biggest problems is traffic, he said.

The problems are made worse on weekends with extra US 2 traffic from travelers headed to the Cascade Mountains, he said. “Any type of easing we can do for residents with arterial streets would help,” he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com

The job: A four-year term for position 3 on the City Council, which oversees the running of the city and guides its policies.

Council members are paid $100 per meeting with a maximum of eight per month.

They’re also compensated $100 for each four-hour session of the council’s retreat with a limit of $300 per retreat.

Name: Jeff Rasmussen

Age: 34

Experience: Assistant vice president and bank manager for Washington Federal Bank in Snohomish. More than 12 years of banking and financial service experience specializing in small business. Served on the Board of the Monroe/Sky Valley YMCA.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/#!/JeffRasmussenForMonroeCityCouncil

Name: Mike Stanger

Age: 48

Experience: Manager at Bridge Parters Consulting in Seattle.

Twenty-five years of management experience, working for companies such as Microsoft, Novell, Corel and WordPerfect.

Website: www.mikestanger.com

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