Candidates for the Steilacoom Town Council and Steilacoom Historical School District #1 took part in a forum Thursday night at the Steilacoom Town Hall. The event, sponsored by the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Dave Sclair, reporter for TheSuburbanTimes.com, attracted nearly 100 residents from Steilacoom and DuPont.
Only one Town Council seat is being contested and candidates Connie Aboubaker and Steven L. Stovall were on hand to answer questions and offer voters their views on a wide variety of issues. In the school district election both Position 1 and Position 3 attracted two candidates but unfortunately, only person seeking each seat was able to attend the forum. Vincent Stewart, seeking position 1 and Kevin M. Callanan, candidate for position 3, spoke while their opponents, Donald Denning and Philip Ayles were out of town.
Others participating were Mayor Ron Lucas, and council candidates Lowell G. Bier and Marion V. Smith. All three are incumbents. In the school race, incumbent director Michael Winkler took part.,
The candidates generally agreed with each other on most issues for both the town and school district. Mayor Lucas started off the evening by telling attendees that the most critical issue facing the town will be continuing to stay ahead of the town’s needs. He explained that the town is in good financial shape now. The other candidates for town council generally agreed.
Finding a new superintendent who is a good administrator and people person was high on the list of requirements for the district’s next
superintendent, the candidates noted.
Council and school board members should all try to enhance the business community, resulting in additional taxes for the two governmental entities.
To a question from the audience, all participants said they had paid all their taxes to date. Maintaining the tunnel of trees is important and the town intends to continue working to keep it in good shape. The trees in the tunnel have been inventoried, Lucas noted. Aboubaker said a qualified arborist had examined trees on her property at her expense.
Winkler noted that the school district intends to maintain the Cherrydale woods for the forseeable future and he also noted that moving the bus maintenance facility from the residential Steilacoom to a school district owned industrial site in DuPont makes a lot of sense when funding is available.
None of the council candidates favored any sort of tax increase. Bier noted that he favors making sure utilities pay their way by setting rates appropriately.
A question relating to the Port Steilacoom building’s height and noise from Jake’s in the building elicited a comment that the building met town codes.
Aboubaker, who has been at the center of a zoning controversy over land her family owns and is trying to develop, said she had not participated in any of the discussions or decisions relating to her permit requests. “I wasn’t even in the room during the discussions and decisions,” she stated. She noted that they had purchased the property many years ago and needed to develop it for financial reasons.