Charters, 59, works for SDS Lumber Company. He is a first-time candidate for City office but not new to local politics: he ran for Klickitat County Sheriff in 2018 on a citizen sheriff platform.
I also have concerns about the planned roundabout at Jewett and Garfield. I don’t think this is a good location for a roundabout. A better location, if there’s to be one, would be on East Jewett at the turnoff to Skyline Hospital.
How would an administration under your leadership be different from the one the City has had the last 12 years?
I would start my administration with a reset on overall expectations and priorities, and I would also prioritize better communication about the work the City is doing to increase awareness for how tax dollars are being used.
Charters: If a new elementary school is built, the City should look at purchasing the old building for a community center and a home for a new swimming pool.
Keethler: 1. Intentional Development: As part of the Comprehensive Plan, we need to align our City codes to allow the type of commercial and residential development that contributes to and enhances our existing town, while discouraging projects that threaten to change the character and feel of our city.
2. Housing: We need to increase our involvement in county and community led efforts, engage more with local stakeholders, and revisit City codes on zoning and development.
3. Infrastructure: Get out in front of funding opportunities to improve our water delivery systems, realize green and renewable energy opportunities, and speed up much needed street improvements.
4. Community Development: We have a civically engaged community that has ex-pressed a desire for more resources, chief among them a Com-munity and Youth Center, along with improved park and recreational facilities.
Keethler: I hope the current plan and zoning update results in a clear path forward in planning for our town that reflects the intent of the residents. This will mean a well-articulated vision backed up not only by codes that reinforce those ideas, but also ones that anticipate future hurdles and are proactive in stopping undesired development before it starts.
Charters: A better revenue stream for the City.
Charters: It is always good when departments work together on a project.
Keethler: Yes. This is an issue that has already been raised in joint sessions between the Council and the Planning Commission as it relates to the Comprehensive Plan Update. Having better coordination regarding street development and zoning specifically will benefit residents and both entities. One of our greatest responsibilities as elected officials is the planning of land use, and we need to be mindful that development in the urban growth area is finite, and land within those boundaries needs to sustain both current and future residents.
Keethler: The demands for City services and improvements do not only result from annexation. As our urban growth area becomes more fully developed, I think the city needs to evaluate if it makes sense for those areas that more or less function as parts of the city to be contributing more fully to City services. Right now residents in the urban area pay approximately 28% of their property taxes to support the county roads and county budget, yet the community and services they frequent are within White Salmon. This is also an area where better coordination with the County benefits us financially. If our street and infrastructure standards are better synchronized in the urban growth area, the City would inherit right-sized infrastructure when those developments are part of annexations.
Charters: There will be growing pains, as in any expansion. A good light industrial area could improve revenue.