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For the week of March 27 - April 2, 2002

  News

Candidates address Bellevue issues

Will city tidy up?


By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer

A tidy Bellevue and city infrastructure were two of many issues Bellevue City Council candidates had to answer to last week at a Meet the Candidates event at the Bellevue Elementary School.

About 50 people showed up between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on March 20 to get to know the five alderman candidates.

Jon Anderson, Jon Wilkes, and incumbent Parke Mitchell are running for three two-year seats on the council.

Judith Peak and incumbent Tammy Schofield are running for a one-year seat.

Dick Fairfield also had been slated to run for the one-year seat, but on March 23 he informed the city of Bellevue that he was withdrawing from the race and giving his support to Schofield.

Parke Mitchell

Mitchell was the first to answer the question about how to clean up Bellevue.

"I think it starts in the home," he said, triggering laughter in the audience.

He said he knew the city had laws about derelict cars and trash in yards, or worse, in the alleys behind houses.

"I think if people would call city hall and demand that laws be enforced, something would be done. Itís a case of the squeaky wheel," he said.

He also mentioned the cityís volunteer cleanup effort that happens when weather permits around May Day, the beginning of spring, or when enough snow melts away.

Tammy Schofield

Schofield told the audience that a citywide cleanup was going to become her issue.

She said that while she was driving to the school, she noticed a melting pile of snow.

"Oh my god, thereís a car under there," she said.

Anderson said the city might think about doing monthly cleanups, using volunteers like the Boy Scouts.

Jon Anderson

Peak brought up the point that some of the cityís trash problems might relate to low-income people or the elderly who need help to clean up.

She also said that in the past, the May Day cleanup wasnít advertised well enough for people to know where to pile trash for pickup or that the event was even happening.

Wilkes said it was "unfortunate some people have to be told twice" about cleaning up their yard and their alley. "What we need to do is to instill a good dose of community pride.

Judith Peak

"Community pride comes from doing. It doesnít start with blaming someone else for the problem," he said.

Problems with upgrading, maintaining, expanding and improving infrastructure led to the question of where to get the money.

City infrastructure includes all city services, like police and fire protection, water and sewer services, parks and recreation, and libraries.

Peak saw an opportunity for raising city revenues through annexation fees and having developers of new subdivisions pay for infrastructure improvements and expansions.

Jon Wilkes

Anderson said he would like to learn more about the budget.

"Youíve got your payables and your receivables. You can either raise taxes or cut services."

Schofieldís response was that the city "couldnít afford to put services any lower.

She said if residents wanted better services, it would mean higher taxes or higher water fees.

Mitchell said an "unpopular method" of raising revenues would be a franchise fee on utilities like electricity.

Franchise fees are an indirect way of taxing.

Bellevue can levy the fee on utility companies operating in the city, but the utilities typically pay this fee by having its consumers pay more.

Wilkes said things "canít get done in Bellevue unless they are funded."

"We can ask developers to bear the brunt, but there will be a time in Bellevueís future when it will be time to raise taxes," he said.

"I donít expect something for nothing, just as long as the money goes to help Bellevue," he said.

The candidates also fielded questions about animal control, snowmobiles driving on city streets and encouraging businesses to come to the city.

The council election will be Monday, April 1, at the Bellevue City Hall, from noon to 8 p.m.

Absentee ballots are available now at city hall and will be accepted up until 5 p.m. March 29.

 


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.