Candidates for Mukilteo City Council Position 3 are (from left) Troy Gray, Sarah Kneller, Tony Markey and Maxwell Chen.

Candidates for Mukilteo City Council Position 3 are (from left) Troy Gray, Sarah Kneller, Tony Markey and Maxwell Chen.

Four seek Mukilteo City Council Position 3 seat in primary

MUKILTEO — Four candidates will be on the primary election ballot for the Position 3 Mukilteo City Council seat.

The winner will replace Randy Lord, who has served on the council since 2006 and decided not to seek re-election.

Both Sarah Kneller and Tony Markey are making their first run for public office. A third candidate, Troy Gray, said he had health issues that were preventing him from running a campaign.

A fourth candidate, Maxwell Chen, who ran for City Council in 2015, did not respond to requests for information and an interview.

In a statement in the Snohomish County voters pamphlet, Chen said his interests are the Japanese Gulch master plan, Paine Field commercial expansion and the city’s waterfront development.

Kneller, 31, works in television sports production. She said she decided to run after observing city issues for the past three years.

A course she took at the Everett Gospel Mission on poverty also influenced her. “After taking that class I said I just can’t sit back and not take action,” she said.

When people think of Mukilteo, they don’t often associate it with poverty and other social issues, Kneller said. “We have homelessness in Mukilteo and people who are struggling and people who rely on food banks.”

Safe sidewalks should be a city priority, she said. Kids often have to walk or ride their bikes to school.

Voters will decide a proposed one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase in November aimed at improving the city’s streets and walkways. People either must be willing to put up with a lower level of service or find ways to pay for maintaining them for the future, she said.

“We’ve really neglected the infrastructure in our city,” Kneller said.

The city should first look for budget savings to pay for improvements, but Kneller said she would support a sales tax increase to pay for road and sidewalk improvements.

“It’s the most equitable way to do it,” she said, noting that the sales tax also would be paid in part by people who visit the city.

Kneller said she would like to see a stronger relationship between the school board and the city. She said older adults in the city’s garden club have said they would like to start a mentoring program working with students in Kamiak High School’s greenhouse, allowing adults and teens to connect.

Markey, 49, works in health care. He has served on the city’s long-range financial planning committee. He said he decided to run because he believes his financial experience will be helpful to the city. “I do feel I can make a difference,” he said.

He said he thinks that some of the turnover in key city administrative positions, such as its finance director, is caused in part to employees feeling underappreciated. “Working in the city, everybody who calls has a problem,” he said.

Although the city long fought introduction of passenger flights out of Paine Field, its job now should be to work with the airport to ensure Mukilteo has a voice in issues such as noise ordinances, he said.

The city also should be in touch with Boeing to see how the company feels about issues such as potential noise ordinances and adding passenger service at Paine Field, he said.

“Insofar as Boeing has a problem with this, we have a problem, too,” he said.

Markey said he supports putting a measure on the fall ballot to increase the city’s sale tax to help pay for road maintenance and sidewalk improvements.

But he said he opposes the proposed one-tenth of 1 percent tax increase. “If we dare raise taxes, we better put in that effort of, ‘Hey, we’re trimming the budget, too,’ ” he said.

Approximately 60 percent of the tax increase would be paid by people who live outside the city, Markey said.

“It’s a pretty strong signal if Mukilteo residents say ‘no’ to the tax that would impact them the least,” he said.

The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the November general election.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

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