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Kittitas City of ROSLYN Council 7

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.

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    Ellie Belew

  • Nolan Walter Weis

Biographical Information

What is your record of public service?

How would you describe your vision for your city?

How do you plan on interacting with the citizens of your city?

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 a chief administrator hired by the council)?

What role should your city/town play in dealing with environmental issues?

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What should be your city/town’s plan to deal with existing or potential racial inequalities?

What should your jurisdiction do to address the revenue shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 crisis?

Mailing Address PO BOX 652
ROSLYN, WA 98941
Phone (509) 859-1626
Town where you live Roslyn, WA
Experience (300 characters max) For more than 20 years I've supported myself by writing fiction and community histories, conducting oral histories, and teaching writing. Before that I worked as printer, commercial driver, produce broker, bookkeeper, cashier, grounds keeper, waitress, house painter, book jobber, and English tutor.
I served on the Roslyn City Council (1992-1997), and on Roslyn's Citizens' Advisory Committee for the Roslyn Urban Forest from its inception in 2008 through 2019. I was on the Roslyn Volunteer Fire Department for three years in the early 1990s.

I began my work toward sustainable forest ecosystems and economies as a member of the local grassroots group RIDGE (1989-2010). I was on RIDGE's negotiation team (with Suncadia as it was established), as we secured benefits to the community including Roslyn's acquisition of the Roslyn Urban Forest, Roslyn's acquisition of a senior water right, funding for Roslyn's City Hall/ Library project, and creation/ funding of Kittitas Conservation Trust.

I also created and curate Oyez Roslyn! a seasonal small-town performance series featuring readings, riffs, live music, and art, mixed with community conversation (2010 to present).
"Our City, Our Voices" is the theme of my campaign. By this I mean I commit to fostering a receptive, forward-thinking, pro-active city government. My priorities going forward:

*invest in forest health, wildfire response, and evacuation plans;

*secure funding and move on imperative infrastructure like the waterline replacement, city hall/ library construction, and our stormwater system;

*provide ALL citizens with timely budgetary and planning information, the basis for community decision-making.
The Roslyn City Council must return to being an open forum for community discussion, distilling best information into action. To participate, community members need timely access to information.

This will require overhauling the City's various websites, allowing public comment without pre-registration, and utilizing public meetings and ad hoc citizen's committees to gather community input on matters of interest and concern.

Roslyn needs to reestablish opportunities for our citizens to participate as valued volunteers, and to make recommendations that are incorporated.

My email and phone number are available to the public, so I can hear what others are thinking, and bring their ideas forward.
Because our current mayor has demonstrated a very different concept of public participation in Roslyn's governance than my own, and has not fostered transparency, I will need to work with the entire Council to convince the mayor to pursue these.

As a member of council committees, and perhaps as a liaison to ad hoc committees, I hope to work with the mayor to better represent our community. I would like to restore the practice of incorporating Roslyn's long-term planning into current decisions (examples include our Comprehensive Plan, Capital Facilities Plan, and real-time budget updates).
Roslyn can MODEL sustainability. Roslyn can:

1)and must, along with Upper Kittitas County, prioritize wildfire response and evacuation plans.

2)re-commit to stewardship of the Roslyn Urban Forest as forest habitat as well as recreational site, including planning with the Fire Department.

3)evaluate installing a solar 'farm' on its lands near the stormwater ponds and PSE transmission lines.

4)create community gardens, tree/plant nurseries, and a community greenhouse.

5)advocate for better recycling options in Upper County.

6)improve maintenance and repair of our infrastructure and equipment for greater efficiency and less environmental impact, and plan for electric vehicles.

7) reduce single-car traffic and tourism impacts, perhaps fostering "slow tourism" where visitors stay longer and use cars less.

8) advocate for more and better public transportation.

9) establish design guidelines addressing solar panels, the visual and noise impacts of heat pumps, and light pollution.
Factors far beyond Roslyn contribute to this. When people in our community become houseless they live in cars and RVs in the woods, or they leave.

Like many semi-rural communities, Roslyn is experiencing an influx of fairly wealthy people who buy "low-end" housing stock and convert it into high-end houses. Some become residents. Some flip the houses, some use them only part-time and/or rent them as vacation properties. Roslyn's lower-cost housing, including rentals, has almost disappeared.

We need to limit and license short-term rentals while increasing long-term rental housing. This means thinking outside-the-box and researching how similar small towns address this.

Low-paying jobs (seasonal and/or tourism based) contribute to this issue. Roslyn needs a DIVERSE, living-wage economy. One possibility: encourage locally-owned businesses catering to local needs.

We have an immediate opportunity to add affordable housing as we work with Forterra to develop property within Roslyn.
Sadly, racial inequity in Roslyn is braided into our lack of diversity. Roslyn is part of the traditional homelands of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. We have done little to connect with the Yakama people so that is where to start.

Roslyn is proud of its ethnically diverse mining history.

When Roslyn was a company mining town, waves of immigrants were brought in, many times to break the strikes of their predecessors. Black miners from the SE United States were similarly brought in. One result was that by 1900, Roslyn's population was 22% Black, one of the highest in the state. Why, as of the 2010 census, is Roslyn 95% White?

We have an opportunity to reconsider racism within our history, to educate ourselves and our children about diversity and racial equity. Then will come the real work, of change.

The City of Roslyn itself does not have a diverse workforce, and needs to improve its hiring practices and policies, including more public posting of jobs.
First and foremost, Roslyn needs to track its budget in real time and provide this information to its citizens. As we enter the third quarter of this fiscal year, there has been no outreach to the community to participate in planning our 2022 budget.

Volunteers, who in years past, have provided many services and projects to Roslyn, are not engaged or sought after, nor are community members' suggestions encouraged.

I support the Roslyn Admin Committee's pursuit of Real Estate taxation (REET), a tax levied upon the seller of real estate. REET 1, and potentially REET 2, can be used for capital projects and limited maintenance. Roslyn should develop an integrated parking plan that includes fees on select tourist parking to generate income, as well as in-town public transportation alternatives that encourage tourists to spend more time in town without blocking local access to local businesses.
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