Monroe candidates concerned about growth, safety

Incumbent Monroe City Councilman Kevin Hanford is being challenged for the Position 1 council seat by Brad Waddell, who’s making his first try for public office.

Hanford, who works for Boeing, has served for the past two years in the council’s at-large post. Waddell has worked at the Monroe Correctional Complex for 22 years, now working as a shift sergeant.

The two differ on rezoning the 43 acres in east Monroe along U.S. 2, which includes 20 acres of farmland. A church owns the land and wants to rezone for the property for development.

Waddell said wants to keep the acreage as farmland. In a Sept. 13 letter, the state Department of Ecology recommended that the city not approve the proposed rezoning to allow development. “Loss of productive farmland, particularly in the Snohomish Basin, is a matter of ongoing concern to the farming community and Snohomish County government,” the letter says.

“I feel the project to rezone the east side of Monroe is in an area where there’s farmland and the Ecology Department has said it’s not a good idea to rezone,” Waddell said.

Hanford said he’s still considering the issue. “It’s concerning that it’s at the bottom of that hill where the river is at,” Hanford said. On the other hand, property owners have rights and should be able to build something on the piece of land they own, he said.

“The more I look at the east Monroe situation, the more I am convinced that this is a property rights issue,” Hanford said. There are processes in place to ensure the safety of the Skykomish River, the natural habitat and the homes on the nearby hill, he added.

Hanford said that as he’s talked with voters, many are excited about the city’s growth and how the city has been able to work its way out of financial debt.

Two of the latest development projects coming to the city include the Walmart store on N. Kelsey and the new wakeboard cable park on Lake Tye, he said.

Hanford said that he thinks adding parking and public restrooms to the city’s downtown business district are steps that need to be taken for the area’s revitalization. “That will continue to attract good businesses in that area,” he said.

The improvements could be made without asking the voters to approve a bond issue or tax increase, he said. Instead, he proposed that the city could use the income from its land sales.

Waddell said he decided to run for political office to give the citizens of Monroe leadership on the City Council and to improve public safety.

Waddell said he wants to ensure that the police have the staffing, equipment, patrol cars and other safety equipment to do their work. Although the city recently hired two additional officers, “we need to have two more,” he said.

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

Meet the candidates

The job: At stake is a four-year term for Position 1 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.

Kevin M. Hanford

Age: 42

Experience: Works at Boeing and is a member of the leadership team for the Employee’s Community Fund. Member of the City Council for the past two years. Previously managed an auto repair shop in Monroe.

Website: www.kevinhanford.com

Brad Waddell

Age: 53

Experience: Served 20 years in the Army, including eight years of active duty and the remaining years in the reserves. His experiences include being a military police officer and drill sergeant.

Website: None

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