JoAnn Mack

(candidate for 2001 City Council)

1.  How can the mayor and City Council better communicate information about issues facing city government to citizens? What specific strategies would you advocate to inform the public about pending decisions?
Information regarding up coming events and agendas for public meetings are posted on the Cityís web site, Pay channel 13, announced in the local paper, is available at City Hall and even sent to Vision 2020. Perhaps the issue is not getting the information posted in more places but rather making sure the community knows where the information resides. This responsibility does not lie solely on the shoulders of the City. No matter how many places events and agendas are announced, someone is going to miss it. Each of us as a community member can help get information out. If an issue is of particular importance to you, tell others. Let them know where they can find this information in the future. It takes all of us to make an informed community.

2.  Do you believe that public (taxpayer) money should be used for maintenance of the 1912 building?
The initial agreement for the 1912 building was not to use taxpayer dollars. The argument was made that the building would generate rental and usage fees spreading operation and maintenance costs among the users. The City would be responsible for the space they use. There is no doubt the building can be an attractive valuable asset to our community but not by placing a financial albatross around the neck of the taxpayer. Our current direction appears to be giving away space or keeping fees well below value to encourage use. If we are going to make a change to the original premise, we need to let the taxpayers know where the money will come from and how much it will be. We then need to step back and listen to the people paying the bill.

3.  Currently, much of the discussion of controversial items takes place at the city's two committees: Finance/Public Works and Administration. Do you favor televising these meetings over the city's public-access channel so the public can have greater insights into the council's decisions? Why or why not?
The Administration Committee and Public Works and Finance meet every Monday to discuss issues coming up in front of the council. Very often the meat of the discussion occurs in these meetings and the council meeting does not offer all the comments made earlier. Televising the meetings would increase cost and most likely would not reach many people since it occurs during normal working hours. I think an alternative plan could be for council members to cover more of the earlier discussion during the regular council meeting. At least include enough of the discussion to enable viewers to discern what points were used to arrive at a decision.

4.  How would you assess the success of the Alturas Technology Park in attracting new business to Moscow? Does the City Council have any role in trying to attract additional businesses to locate in the park?
The Alturus Technology Park is a critical part of growing business in Moscow. We have had several businesses graduate from the incubator and not have a place to lease in Moscow. We have lost these businesses to other cities. That translates to lost revenues in the tax base as well as the loss of residents who would support our business economy. This doesnít even address the soft benefits employees of these businesses would provide to the community of Moscow. Alturus is providing a place for new companies. If we do not attract additional business to our area or keep the ones we grow, there will be no new tax base and no way to continue supporting the activities that add to our quality of life. Yes, I do think the city has an interest in attracting new business to Moscow.

5.  The depth of our aquifer continues to drop. Continuing land development increases water use from that aquifer. Have we studied this issue sufficiently? How can we address this problem?
The Palouse Aquifer has been a concern for as long as I have been here and probably longer. We know the Grand Rhonde is not recharging. We donít know if it will eventually be depleted and if so how long do we have at what rate of usage. As you can see, there are a lot of questions which remain unanswered and will require additional study. Meanwhile, we canít stand by and not look for an alternate plan. Moscow is fortunate to have other options to explore. The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee has received a grant to continue to study the aquifer and look for alternative sources of water.

6.  Should Moscow continue to support economic development by focusing on increasing tourism to art-based events? Specifically, should the city continue its support of the Rendezvous in the Park concert series?
The jury is still out on whether or not to call art based events economic development. Certainly we enjoy the benefits of events such as Rendezvous and there is an influx of people to the area during the event. Rendezvous has had nineteen seasons to find adequate funding. This year the city budget included a line item budget for the event. It was presumed that this would be seed money to enable them to procure funding for next year. I think it should be the hope of both the city and Rendezvous that additional lines of funding will be secured and Rendezvous will establish its independence.

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