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Snoqualmie council race: Jeff MacNichols seeks stable finances, smart growth
A responsible fiscal plan, energetic businesses and tourism, and citizen-friendly growth—these priorities were on Jeff MacNichols' list when he first ran for elected office in Snoqualmie in 2003.
Today, the law firm owner seeks his third term on the council, and has much the same priorities. But MacNichols, who has guided Snoqualmie through such momentous changes as the 205 flood control project and the growth of the Ridge to today's annexation debate, says he still has promises to keep. Eight years later, his priorities remain fiscal health, business infrastructure and a stable city character.
How long have you lived in this city? What do you do for a living?
I have lived in Snoqualmie since 2002. I have served as a Council Member since 2004, including a year as Mayor Pro Tem. I have been practicing law since 1997. I own a law firm called Stewart Beall MacNichols & Harmell, Inc., P.S., and I employ 10 lawyers and four staff at offices in Kent and Kirkland.
What is the biggest reason you are running for office?
I have spent the last eight years endeavoring to deliver on the promises that I have made to voters. Snoqualmie has accomplished numerous notable achievements during my tenure on the Council, including Army Corps 205 Flood Mitigation Project, a new City Hall, economic sustainability, Downtown Infrastructure improvements, numerous new businesses and open space, and a new Community Center, to name a few. I want to build on these achievements by continuing to ensure that Snoqualmie is economically strong, that our businesses are viable and that our unique city character is maintained.
What do you hope to accomplish as a council member?
Snoqualmie faces challenges that I hope to meet head-on and overcome. First, we need to ensure that our business community is supported by the City. Second, we need to address our pending infrastructure needs and set aside funds for future needs. Third, we need to continue our efforts to encourage tourism and new industry to come to Snoqualmie.
What do you think Snoqualmie's biggest challenge is today?
Snoqualmie’s biggest challenge is remaining financially sustainable during these difficult economic times. Over the past few years I have participated in Council decisions that have financially prepared our City for these tough times. Our future challenge is to remain diligent in maintaining lean budgets, while delivering a high level of service to our citizens. Also, we must maintain our high level of infrastructure, while setting aside funds for future infrastructure repair and replacement.
How would you accommodate the concerns of residents and business in the Mill Annex area?
The Mill Annex area presents a compelling challenge to the City. The benefit of the proposed annexation is giving the City control over the destiny of this land that is historically linked to our community. The rally car school is also a unique opportunity to lure tourists and create economic development. However, annexation should not occur unless the land owners, not the City, are responsible for the environmental liabilities on the site. Also, the City should not be burdened with the economic liability of repair costs for current County (non-City) infrastructure such as road and bridge maintenance.
How would you ensure transparency to the public on the council?
Transparency is achieved by (1) all decision-making occurring in a public forum, not on email or in private; (2) all information available to the council for decision-making is available to the public; (3) proper notice to the public for all meetings and discussions; (4) request for public input on all decisions and at all stages of the process; and (5) incorporating electronic notifications via the City website and social media to deliver information to the citizens.
Do you think Snoqualmie would be well-served by more growth?
More growth is only beneficial if it is the right kind of growth and it is properly mitigated. Snoqualmie is in need of additional retail and business growth. I will continue to work with existing business landlords to assist them in filling their vacancies. I will also collaborate with local and regional entities to encourage new businesses in our business park. However, any new growth must harmonize with Snoqualmie’s values of small town character and values.
Do you think there is a divide between old and new residents? How would you fix it?
As a council member for the past eight years, I have endeavored to enact policies that bring this community together. For example, while serving on the council, I voted to appoint two Downtown residents, Charles Peterson and Kathi Prewitt, to fill council vacancies. I thought it was important to have voices on the council that represent the entire community. Moreover, I voted for the new City Hall to be located in Downtown Snoqualmie. Additionally, I voted for Downtown infrastructure improvements, Silva Avenue improvements, the Army Corps 205 flood reduction project and the city-wide way finding system. I believe that these investments show all of our citizens that their leaders are committed to the growth and prosperity of the entire community.
What's something about you that your neighbors may not know?
In addition to being an attorney and council member, I am an avid golfer, skier and foodie. I have also coached five Falls Little League teams for my sons. My wife is an amazing interior designer.
• You can visit MacNichols' campaign page at http://reelectjeff.org/