Snoqualmie must add two council members

SNOQUALMIE - The city of Snoqualmie will be racing to add two new City Council members to its five-member council by the end of October.

The plan to appoint the two council members came after the city conferred with an official from the Office of the State Auditor last week. Cities in Washington, with governments like Snoqualmie's, are required to have seven-member councils once their populations hit 5,000. Snoqualmie has been fast approaching that number but believed it had more time and wanted to wait to add the new council members until January 2005 for budgeting reasons.

Snoqualmie received census data in June that said the city has 5,110 residents. Wanting to ensure it was in compliance, the city checked its timeline with an official from the auditor's office, who then checked with the office of the state attorney general. The attorney general's office said the city had to appoint two new council members as soon as possible.

The process to fill the position will be similar to the one taken to appoint Maria Henriksen, who filled a vacant seat left by Jay Rodne when he was appointed to become a state representative. A tentative timeline proposed by Mayor Fuzzy Fletcher has the city taking applications for the positions until Sept. 30. The City Council will then review the applications and hold interviews prior to appointing the new council members at its Oct. 11 meeting. The first appointed council member would get to vote on the second appointed council member.

The appointments will make 2005 a big election year for Snoqualmie. Both the appointed council members will be up for re-election, as will council members Henriksen, Matt Larson and Greg Fullington. Fletcher will be up for re-election as well. Council members serve staggered four-year terms with elections held in odd years. To balance out the number of officials running in one year in the future, the first term of the new council positions after next year's election will be of different lengths. Therefore, one of the new council members' positions will be two years after next year's election, while the other will be four years. Snoqualmie City Attorney Pat Anderson said there would be a kind of "drawing of straws" method to determine which candidate serves the longer term.

The Snoqualmie City Council will review the mayor's plan and an ordinance expanding the council to seven members at its Sept. 13 meeting, with a vote approving the ordinance likely to come on Sept. 27.

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