LYNNWOOD — Nicola Smith says she has the right leadership style for a second term as Lynnwood’s mayor. She aims to provide an environment of respect and stability for the public and city staff, she said.
“People have been coming to work joyfully now to serve the community,” she said.
Councilman George Hurst is running against Smith in the Nov. 7 general election. He says Smith has relied too much on department heads for input, especially on the budget. Hurst believes as mayor he would be more connected to people outside City Hall and make it easier to air disagreements.
“We just need a change in leadership,” he said. “This is not working out.”
The mayor of Lynnwood serves four years and earns $104,770 annually. Three City Council members also are facing challengers in the general election. Most Snohomish County ballots are being mailed Thursday.
Smith, 58, is a retired administrator for Edmonds Community College. Hurst, 64, has worked for decades in the lighting industry.
“I was brought in to refresh and reset the city in a lot of different areas,” Smith said.
She cited her work to diversify city staff, make the budget less of a “mess” than she inherited, and promote community policing. If re-elected, she supports the creation of a citizen advisory group for the police department, she said.
She hears from folks who say the vibe in Lynnwood is “happier and more pleasant,” she said. She also noted her work on regional issues, as well as creating welcoming spaces for veterans.
“I want to continue this momentum that we have,” she said. “I’m the one who has built the relationships with people.”
Hurst was elected to the council in 2015 and also served on the planning commission. He is proud of his involvement in a recent town hall and the merger talks between the county’s two 911 boards. He supported the 911 merger, completed last week, because it would eliminate lengthy delays for callers in border areas, he said.
Hurst studied the city’s financial process. “The mayor made it very clear it was the city directors writing the budget, not her,” he said. He also was against changes in how the rainy-day fund was allocated.
“We have restrategized how we save money,” Smith said.
Hurst wants to help lead South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue, the product of a recent merger between the Lynnwood Fire Department and Fire District 1. He thought others who worked on the merger should have been more upfront about the likely pursuit of a new future tax based on building type and size.
If elected, Hurst would put together budget focus groups for resident feedback, and “actually do some nice discussions that have never happened before in Lynnwood,” he said.
As of Oct. 10, Smith’s campaign reported raising $19,473, according to state records. Hurst’s campaign had raised $5,338.
Three contested City Council seats
As for the other Lynnwood races, Councilman M. Christopher Boyer decided not to seek re-election. Van AuBuchon, a former councilman and IT consultant, and Christine Frizzell, an accountant, are running for that seat, Position 1. Both have been involved in Lynnwood for years. AuBuchon has said he wants to save the city from what he sees as a “catastrophic direction” and a “tax-and-spend binge.” Frizzell cites her Lynnwood roots and financial know-how in being ready to serve.
Councilman Ian Cotton’s challenger for Position 2 is Shanon Tysland, a local business owner. “We have done much good, but there is still much to get done,” said Cotton, an engineer, in the voters pamphlet. Tysland said he wants to see a downtown core that is vibrant and walkable.
Council Vice President Ruth Ross, a state analyst, is facing Rosamaria Graziani for Position 3. Ross noted her work on the 36th Avenue W. improvements. She wants Lynnwood to be diverse, affordable and safe, she said in the pamphlet. Graziani, an attorney and a former college professor, works with an educational nonprofit. She says taxes and fees are out of control. “There should be no need for more taxes,” she said.
Four other council positions are up for election in 2019. Council members serve four-year terms and are paid about $19,800 annually.