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Benton County City of Kennewick Council Position 7 At Large

The 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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  • Candidate picture

    Russel Del Gesso

  • Candidate picture

    James (Jim) Millbauer

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

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

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

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

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

Phone (509) 388-6052
Town where you live Kennewick
Experience (300 characters max) Abundant time and experience dedicated to working with community partners with the goal of bettering our community and the desire to continue this movement.
My experience consists of growing up in a small-business family, graduating college with BS degree in Business Administration, Mgmt/Organization Minor w/Human Resource and Business Law focuses. I worked for 8 years in Ellensburg to grow small business while venturing into real estate ownership and becoming a realtor. We moved to Kennewick in 2007 to purchase property, start a family and 2 businesses, rehabilitate and purchase a small business (now 12 years running), and have volunteered no less than 10 hrs/week for 9 years in Kennewick community organizations, non-profits, and recreational groups.

As qualifications for the position of City Council, I offer that I am an involved, concerned and active community member who has a history of leadership, integrity and commitment. I desire to be a positive impact in the lives of our citizens and the sustainability of our city for future generations. I believe in our city and our ability to move forward and upward together.
My vision is to see Kennewick become the city that other communities aspire to. I believe in preserving the most valuable resource that we have, our next generation. It is my desire to work with our council and our community to provide an environment with ample business, industry, health, recreation, entertainment and education opportunities for our next generations to succeed here. So that “Bigger, Bolder, Brighter” Kennewick stands as a beacon, and worldly travel for our youth becomes a “want” but not a necessity, since innovation and creativity are nurtured right here on our own home, their home, of Kennewick.
As for obstacles, I agree with the current budget for 19/20 however I would like to refine and maximize revenue sources to continue to grow necessary infrastructure and services efficiently, without raising taxes.

It is also my belief that Kennewick, with all its amenities and opportunities, is still wrestling with the concept of identity and a center as a result of a multiple nuclei growth model. As we continue to build our community around us, we must embrace this model to support our distinct “centers” with design and development consistently advantageous to businesses, industries and historical areas as they fit.

The other “obstacles” I see are more aptly termed “opportunities”. Opportunities to refine and streamline processes in our permitting, continue to examine zoning areas for potential, communication lines, planning, transportation, and public/private partnerships to accomplish our goals.
Our role as a city must continue to be proactive and strategic in developing our environment as it is key to the health of our community. We have perfected a sprawl mindset with suburban developments and while this is nice feeling, it is also consuming open-space habitats and reducing recreation spaces. We need to encourage upward development in Kennewick. Sprawl pressures our ability to handle stormwater, provide clean water, and is costly in infrastructure and services. We have the opportunity to build multi-story buildings for high density housing, mixed use, and commercial use. This is ideal to both alleviate the stress on our environment and capitalize on property tax revenue.

Preserving our environment can come from “Conservation Design” zoning. This concept applies approaches to preserve portions of development for open spaces which minimizes costs on environment, infrastructure, and services while providing bikeable/walkable recreation and vegetative/wildlife areas.
One issue surrounding the infrastructure of our city is the need for regular improvements and additions to streets, sidewalks, utilities, sewer, etc. continuously exhaust the budget. Growth is important, however we must recognize this stress on budget and environment. We must examine more constructive and efficient processes.

Another issue that with infrastructure is the potential for our effluent/wastewater treatment plant to become inefficient in handling our size. We must prepare for the opportunity to make scaled improvements and potential replacement in order to appropriately manage our community health.
Advocate to programs (UGM, ANSIL, Safe Harbor) that currently exist to aid homeless into term or affordable housing. These are ideal as they address issues with a progressive plan to achieve the goal of a self-sufficient, contributing citizen. These programs use little or no govt funding and provide a foundation in sobriety which solves why some people find themselves in a homeless situation.

Refrain from creating zoning laws restricting the construction of low-income housing in areas of infill as this is a key component to the existence of “affordable housing” in relation to job market.

Housing First has momentum in solving “homelessness” as it removes the barriers of placement into a home. I have difficulty in believing in ease of occupancy (no drug or alcohol interventions, no employment requirements, etc.) but support services are available and the model has successes in large communities where implementation is complete.

Lastly, bus tickets to get homeless to friends/family.
Our community would be justified in refining resources and guidance for a clear and concise path to legal citizenship. Our community does provide home to many individuals and families that are established here, providing commitments and contributions to our community. These are cases that deserve the guidance of an understanding community, one where their passion to contribute is met with the compassion of their community to provide permanent residence. We can provide in our citizens workshops, that include financial literacy and “English as a Second Language” classes with metrics. There is also the potential for tax credits to businesses and industry that provide ESL services to employees.

However, in cases of criminal activity our community should promote investigation, including citizenship, by our law enforcement. Furthermore, our law enforcement should cooperate with our federal partners to produce maximum criminal holds and deportation as applicable with criminals.
Get out and engage! Participate in the community! Be accessible! With all the methods of communication practiced in the world of today it is virtually impossible to pick one, or even two, methods that will interact with local citizens who are unable to attend council meetings. The best way to effectively communicate is to meet face-to-face. Of course there is the necessity for a council member to also work in their career and maintain a family life as well, keeping a balance is important.
Phone (509) 531-4134
Town where you live Kennewick, WA
Experience (300 characters max) I am a husband, father, grandfather, and 32-year resident of Kennewick with a desire to make a difference. I have the heart and passion to serve others and the stamina of a tireless advocate to fight for the right thing and the voices that should be represented.
I am energized by the opportunity to serve Kennewick and will greet this challenge like I have every other in my life - with honesty and integrity, with confidence and communication, and an unwavering commitment to do the right thing. My career as a project steward and business agent has afforded me decades of experience in wrestling with ethical, legal, and contractual issues. I have honed the skill of listening with an open mind rather than with predetermined notions and conclusions. Years of negotiation and arbitration leadership management has taught me that focusing on collaborative solutions is the only way to sustain lasting and long-term improvements and change for the betterment of all. I will conduct myself in a respectful and professional manner that would honor the morals and values my parents have instilled in me and live by to this day.
My vision for Kennewick is one that is built on economic development, a high quality of life, and public safety. I see Kennewick as a strong city with a vibrant economy that promotes job creation supported by business and industry that in turn support families and their needs. I see a city that has a focused priority on attracting and retaining young professionals, blue-collar workers, and their families. Kennewick must partner with opportunities and organizations to expand cultural, entertainment, and recreational offerings, adding a powerful dimension to our quality of life in Kennewick. In doing so, Kennewick continues to develop as a tourist destination offering a multitude of amenities that entice others to relocate to our wonderful community. Finally, economic development and a superior quality of life will have little meaning without a safe community that has adequate funding for emergency services to protect the health and welfare of our loved ones when it counts the most.
The only obstacles in our path are those we choose to let stand in the way of ingenuity and creative thinking. Where there is a will, there is a way. We just have to be open minded enough to recognize the solutions when we hear them.
Our city needs to be responsible for the effective use of our environment as we maintain and grow Kennewick. This means working within the current state and federal laws that help govern municipalities. With three rivers in our community, I believe we should take advantage of our hydro power and nuclear energy production. By utilizing SMR’s (Small Modular Reactors) we can meet the energy demands of our region. With 300+ days of sunshine solar power is a great example of alternative, clean energy which is why I have incorporated solar power within my residence and believe in its use.
The City of Kennewick is positioning our community for projected growth through year 2034. Kennewick’s infrastructure is aging no differently than other cities of our size. Kennewick needs to ensure our roads, water lines, sewer lines, and fire protection lines are adequately funded and maintained to provide these basic services to to our residents now and in the future. Kennewick recognizes that our existing job providers are our best source of economic growth. Therefore, maintaining and advancing an infrastructure that supports our current and future business partners for the expected growth in residential, commercial, and industrial demands is vitally important. Kennewick’s Comprehensive Plan addresses four basic areas of infrastructure: Capital Facilities, Transportation, Utilities, and Essential Public Facilities. Partnering with other non-municipal service providers contributes to the level of services that match our community’s desire for an exceptional quality of life.
Kennewick recognizes there is a concern around the entire State of Washington when it comes to homelessness. As a community we need to be open-minded and compassionate while examining the root causes to better understand what a segment of our population is experiencing. Kennewick needs to continue being proactive in seeking out partnerships with our local non-profit organizations (United Way, Union Gospel Mission, Benton-Franklin Community Action Council, and others) along with citizens and business leaders to support human services in our community. Providing people in need with the resources to improve their quality of life is key in being a welcoming and nurturing community.
Kennewick is made up of individuals with unique and varied backgrounds and is proud of the richness and value that diversity brings to our community. As public servants we need to make a conscious effort to interact with our stakeholders to understand their positions and concerns to ensure all voices are being represented. We do this by continuing to partner with other groups within the Tri-Cities, listening to our constituency, and educating citizens about opportunities to get involved in shaping the direction of our city. Until 1956 our great nation's motto was E Pluribus Unum, which means “out of many, one.” Inclusion is the only way for us as a city and society to foster a sense of pride and unity in our community.
Our system of government, whether on a local, state, or national level is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. To encourage civic involvement and discussion we must reach out to our community members through a variety of means and listen to our citizens’ ideas, visions and concerns. We accomplish this communication by utilizing city workshops, open houses, creating town hall meetings, urging attendance at city council meetings, and effectively utilizing all media mediums as a way of communicating with our citizens of all ages.