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Benton City Of Kennewick Council Position 4 At Large

Salary:$11,904 Term: 4 yearThe city council sets the general policies of the city, which are implemented by the city manager and staff. One of council's main duties is the adoption of policies and the enactment of the city's annual budget. City council sets fiscal policies and approves all spending , whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for city employees.
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    Bill McKay (NP) Self Employed - Business Owner

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    Christy Watts (NP) Public Relations & Marketing - Retired April 30, 2017 from Ben Franklin Transit

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

Phone (509) 586-8303
Email votebillmckay@gmail.com
Town where you live Kennewick
Experience (300 characters max) Accounting degree - BSU, '94; WA Self-Storage Assoc Board; Built & own 27th Ave. Self-Storage; Commercial Loan Officer 14 yrs; Tri-City Prep HS Board; YMCA Board; Scout Master; AAU B-ball Coach; Operated family dairy farm ID '80-'92; Appointed by ID Gov to ID Dairy Products Commission & Beef Council
For the most part the City of Kennewick’s infrastructure is very good. However, this last winter was difficult for the City of Kennewick, not only because of snow removal but the damage caused by the freezing and thawing. Consequently, the budget for repairs to the roads needs to increase significantly this year, but there are no reserve funds in the budget to draw from. I will try to prioritize items in the budget and build reserves for this kind of emergency.
Citizens need to be aware of services available for the homeless. The “Red Book” put out by Ben-Franklin Counties Dept. of Human Services is a 24 page book listing resources available to the homeless in our community from government, non-profits and church entities that offer services. Services include, health care, job training, education, transportation, financial assistance, shelters, etc. Hopefully City employees know about these services and can direct the homeless to the services needed.
I am committed to do everything possible to keep tax increases to a minimum that would impact senior citizen’s fixed incomes. As I speak with senior citizens they all say that tax increases are the hardest items in their budgets to deal with because they aren’t able to increase their income to cover the additional taxes. I would continue to support the Kennewick Senior Center.
The City should support legal immigration when the people can be sufficiently vetted to assure they are not a security risk. Illegal immigration should not be supported or condoned.
I think the major issue facing Kennewick today is being able to live within its budget, without continually increasing taxes to pay for all of the additional wants. This would include funding needed for infrastructure to accommodate future growth and services.
As I talk with Kennewick residents the issue that keeps comes up is the fear they have of the City not living within its means and needing other forms of tax revenue. They speak of other liberally run cities like, Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, etc. that have gotten themselves in financial trouble by not prioritizing the budget and over spending on social programs. I am committed to do all I can to make the budget my number one focus and building some reserves for the future.
I see the City Manager’s role as being responsible for the operations of the City under the direction of the City Council. The role of the individuals on the City Council is to obtain sufficient knowledge so they can make informed and responsible decisions. Often the source of that information will be the City Manager or other key City employees. So the relationship between the two parties needs to reflect respect and cooperation.
Phone (509) 308-8986
Email christywatts2@gmail.com
Town where you live Kennewick
Experience (300 characters max) Over 40 years experience in Customer Service, Marketing, Public Relations and Fund Development. Active member and past president of Columbia Center Rotary.
Kennewick’s ability to attract manufacturing and industrial development is limited due to the lack of appropriate and available land. Eventually the Kennewick School District will also need land and infrastructure for additional schools. The city’s urban growth boundary needs to be expanded to accommodate growth but that growth must be sustainable and well planned.
I was the board chair of Benton & Franklin Counties Continuum of Care for Homeless Housing. I became familiar with the many agencies providing assistance to homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, families and individuals. Some of these agencies are: Community Action Connections; Department of Human Services; Catholic Family Charities and many others which are all compiled into a book that is readily available from agencies that serve the homeless population. While it is critical that we provide housing to reduce homelessness among individuals and families, the ultimate solution to ending homelessness must involve preventing it from occurring in the first place. That means reliable employment that pays decent wages. Kennewick is a rapidly growing city and the focus should lean towards economic development that results in more living wage jobs and the availability of affordable housing.
My commitment to senior citizens is listed on my campaign materials as a priority. I will work diligently to ensure that seniors in the city of Kennewick have the services and recreational opportunities they deserve. I would like to see a new or revitalized Senior Center. A continuation of Meals on Wheels delivered to the Senior Center and the homes of our elderly population is important. Support for the annual Senior Picnic and other activities for seniors is high on my to-do list. Fortunately the Tri-Cities has Dial-A-Ride. A service of Ben Franklin Transit that I worked for many years to improve and maintain. Though Dial-A-Ride is not exclusively for seniors and has eligibility requirements, I feel good about the fact that without transportation alternatives, like Dial-A-Ride, many of our seniors would have limited mobility.

I think Kennewick should be welcoming to all legal immigrants. Diversity makes a community interesting and attractive to young progressives. Without the immigrant population to work in the area's agricultural businesses it would be very difficult for farmers and food processing plants to find labor. If the federal government would issue more green cards to workers from other countries it would greatly reduce the number of people that are here illegally. I do not favor separating families and agree with the Dreamers initiative.
The city needs to be able to attract more young professionals. The Vista Field plan proposed by the Port of Kennewick is a good example of development that will be attractive to that demographic.

The proposed addition to the Three Rivers campus called the LINK must include a plan for refurbishing the coliseum. It also needs to be better explained to the general public and articulate how the expansion benefits the community as a whole.

Developers are building on the outskirts of Kennewick,
Residential development on the outskirts of Kennewick needs to be better thought out. As the area grows the need for more infrastructure does as well. Schools will need to be built, demand for public transportation will grow, and reliance on the automobile will congest the roads. I support growth but the principals of mixed use development and safe streets must be adhered to.
Kennewick has a very capable city manager. I will question decisions I don't understand and always consider what is best for the community. However, I was the Customer Service & Marketing Manager for Ben Franklin Transit until I retired in April. For 15 years I worked for a Board of Directors that was comprised of elected officials from all of the area cities and counties. That experience prepared me to understand the division of responsibilities between councils and city staff.

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