Carnation City Council Position 1 candidates are Adair Hawkins, a registered dental hygienist, and Michael Flowers, a Boeing computing architect.
As the greater Seattle area continues to grow exponentially, how do you plan to preserve the town’s character?
Hawkins: Carnation is a lovely place to live, play and raise a family. The fast pace of regional growth challenges us with an exciting opportunity — how to cultivate this growth to strengthen our local economy and better our quality of life while retaining our city’s rural and beautiful character. As the greater Seattle area continues to grow, I plan to preserve our town’s character by keeping the height limit of new buildings no greater than three stories, building sidewalks and focusing on the walkability of our city, and ensuring our zoning code continues to keep significant area set aside for our farmers and parks. I will continue to work with our planning board and community to ensure new buildings reflect a uniquely Carnation flavor.
The best thing about living in Carnation is that I can walk to the grocery store, library, elementary school and my church. Preserving our town’s character means making a central downtown area where we can visit and shop with our friends and neighbors while keeping our green spaces open for hiking, walking and enjoying the river.
Flowers: To preserve the town’s character we need to have the right processes and regulations in place to ensure as we grow that we are able to keep our identity as a small farming community in the Snoqualmie Valley. We need to look at our building code, our design standards and our density regulations and ask ourselves if they help us achieve our goals. If they don’t, then we need to make changes to the codes so they do support our vision and goals. If the standards do support our vision and goals, then we need to make sure they are followed. Responsible growth can occur, we just need to spend the time putting together the right set of standards so our community identity remains.
What will you do to create local job opportunities and foster the local economy?
Hawkins: Growth is a wonderful opportunity for new friends and new businesses, and we cannot afford to close our gates and see businesses continue to leave our community. I am ready to meet the challenge of helping to create local job opportunities and foster our local economy so our community can prosper. I will work diligently with our council in continuing to develop smart business-friendly policies and planning that will create a place where the small businesses in Carnation can thrive and new business is welcome. I will also ensure that our agricultural sector continues to be preserved and supported.
Our town is on highways 203 where thousands of people camp at Tolt-MacDonald Park, cycle the trail systems, and visit our wonderful local farms with their families. I want these visitors who come through Carnation each year to stop and shop here, thus strengthening our local economy, creating jobs. More work must be done on our part to ensure that this happens. We first need to welcome new homes and neighbors that will grow our tax base and allow us to bolster our infrastructure to benefit current and future residents. We next need to ensure our development strategy reflects our needs and is welcoming of small businesses so that we have more options to keep people and money inside of Carnation. We can grow our commercial and residential districts sustainably, while maintaining the open spaces for farming and recreation that make Carnation a wonderful place to live.
Flowers: One of the roles of local government is to foster an environment where the local economy can grow and provide the needs of our community. For Carnation, that means looking at the greater Carnation community and working with all interested parties (farms, businesses, residents, etc.) and developing a strategy to draw people into Carnation to spend the day or the evening and spend their money in Carnation, and enjoy everything that Carnation has to offer. It needs to be a partnership amongst everyone, it can not just be about one segment of our community. As the economy grows, that will also create new job opportunities for our residents so they can live in Carnation, work in Carnation and spend their money in Carnation. This is the cycle we need to strive for, and it starts with a vision and goals, a strategy and a plan.
What is one major improvement you hope to bring to Carnation?
Hawkins: I am excited about the Central Business District improvement plan in Carnation. I will work diligently to help bring this vision for our town to life. In concert with this vision, I will champion making Carnation a safe and walkable community, benefiting all of us but most especially our children and our seniors. Intelligent city planning will allow us to create a more inclusive, equitable and affordable community.
Flowers: I have several main goals that I hope to achieve as a member of the city council. One of them is ensuring that the basis of all decisions that the city makes is in alignment with our city’s vision and goals. We need to spend the time to develop a vision for our city, along with goals to support the vision. Then we need to determine our strategy for accomplishing our vision and goals, and then finally develop a tactical plan that when followed takes us closer to achieving our vision. Too often, the city makes decisions without regard to our vision and goals. We need to have our vision and goals be clearly articulated and understood by everyone so it is what drives our decisions, not personal opinions or goals. At the end of the day, when the city makes decisions, it needs to be taking us one step closer to realizing the city’s goals. The other main goal is transparency in government. We need all our citizens to trust their city government, and I believe transparency in everything the city does is key. We need a comprehensive communication plan with our citizens so they are aware of all the discussions that occur and have opportunities to participate and provide their feedback and insight.
What are your budget priorities and why?
Hawkins: My priority is to keep the Central Business Plan on budget in order to protect our citizens’ tax dollars. We also need to be forward thinking and plan for capital improvement projects so we’re not caught off guard by big ticket civil expenditures.
Flowers: The first priority for any city should be health and safety — ensure the citizens are living in a healthy environment and always feel safe. We need to have the appropriate plans in place that ensure appropriate levels of support for our police, water quality and supply and sewage capacity; which all support a healthy and safe environment for our community.
The next priority is establishing a sustainable year over year budget. We should not use one-time revenue streams that results in the requirement to have ongoing maintenance and operations expenses that are not already planned for and included as part of a sustainable budget. We need to look at the budget from a three-year, five-year and 10-year look ahead to ensure the decisions we make today do not have a negative impact on our fiscal stability in the future.
Another priority is looking into why Carnation is becoming an expensive place to live. We need to re-examine all our taxes, fees, charges, etc. that the city has control over and make adjustments so families from all the socio-economic levels can afford to live in Carnation.
Finally, a priority needs to be affordable housing. The new homes being built are not affordable for the vast majority of the people living in the Valley. The city can not just talk about the need for affordable housing in our community, the city needs to follow through with appropriate decisions, standards, code and direction for ensuring affordable housing is built and available within the city.