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August 18, 2008 1:09 pm

Mayoral candidates both see growth on horizon

Written by Tribune Staff

City councilman Tim Sapp is challenging incumbent mayor Scott Mangold in this year's election.
Sapp, who is finishing his second term as Ward 3 city councilman, was born and raised in Powell. He has worked for Superior Machine Company since 1972. Sapp said he is running to fulfill a promise he made eight years ago.
“I promised my constituents when I first ran for city council that I would eventually run for mayor,” he said.
Incumbent Scott Mangold is part owner, program director, sports reporter, “engineer and gardener” at local radio station KPOW. He grew up in Montana and North Dakota and moved to Powell from Seattle in 1980. He is wrapping up his first term as mayor.
“I have a lot of unfinished projects — Centennial Park and other events — and some things I'd like to lobby the Legislature about,” said Mangold, when asked why he chose to run again.
“I would like to see the use of ankle bracelets for sex offenders. I'd like municipalities to have more say in monies coming in, and for counties to have a bigger part. I also want to see the swimming pool project through, to deal with construction problems. I'd also like to lobby the Legislature to do something about gas prices,” he added.
Sapp said his top priorities include growing business in Powell so there are more stable jobs here, and to not impose any more taxes than necessary.
“I want to keep the city growing and functioning properly,” he said, “I'd also like to see better communication between the school district, the city and the college.”
Though Mangold sees more growth in the future, he said, “We've moved at a fast pace here in the last four years. I don't want to practice isolationism, but I'm ready for the city to take a deep breath and see what we've got. To evaluate and make sure we're not speeding along too fast.”
Both candidates agree that the family aquatic center is a good thing for Powell.
“I'm in favor of the pool. The city needs a pool — we really do,” Sapp said, “We just need to look at how we're hitting the taxpayers as far as things we don't need. I'm talking about paring it down to where we can afford it. We have $7 million to work with. That's a good starting point. But when you start adding features, it gets really expensive — real quick.”
As for the pool project, according to Mangold, “I think we're heading in the right direction. It will be nice when it's done so we'll have recreational opportunities we haven't had. With big projects, you always anticipate arguments, but I think we came up with a pretty good project.
“I expected more of a bidding process ... but I think we have the right person doing it. I'm confident Sletten can give us a good deal. I trust Shawn. He's a hometown kid, and he's not going to do us wrong.”
Mangold added, “The only problem I see is how much we're going to have to pay to operate it. But if we can attract swimmers, it's going to be good for us.”
Both Sapp and Mangold say it's important to keep the downtown area alive.
“It's historical that most downtowns die as time goes on and businesses move outside the downtown area. We need to work with the ones that are already there and find incentives to keep them there,” Sapp said. “We also need to bring in new small businesses. That may mean revisiting the Main Street Project and getting more suggestions.”
According to Mangold, “As far as the city is concerned, we do as much as we can. We keep the downtown attractive, we keep businesses accessible. We try not to push the downtown business owners (away from downtown) by helping them as much as possible, and by keeping it attractive.”
Sapp said the city may need to look at the possibility of hiring a city planner in the future.
“Not that what we have isn't working, but it would be nice to have someone helping out a little bit,” he said, “We're on the verge of having what it takes to raise a city — fiber optic, affordable housing... We're set to take a step forward and grow now.”
Mangold maintains that, though the city is poised for growth, “Catching our breath means figuring out how to fund the projects we have. We also need to have some discussion on zoning issues. Where are we going to put these affordable homes?”
The candidates' thoughts about taxes differ as well. Sapp said he thinks the “citizens of our community feel like they're about taxed-out right now, and they have been for quite a while.”
“I would have a hard time supporting another capital facilities tax because I don't know of a project it could be used on. That's up to the citizens of Powell,” he said.
Mangold said he would support another capital facilities tax to fund Centennial Park.
“This park is different from the others (in town). It's an active park, with lots to do inside the park. It would give families and kids a place to hang out,” he said.
Sapp said, of Centennial Park, “We've got the ground sitting there, and it would be nice to see something done with it, but I don't think we need to hurry it along. We've got lots of nice parks, and we need to make sure we do something that won't cost the taxpayer a lot in the long run.”
As far as what he has to offer the citizens of Powell, Sapp said, “I can take a hard-line stand if I have to. I want to see more business growth in Powell. And I'll work with the business people we've got on main street right now.”
Mangold said he has accomplished a number of things during his tenure as mayor.
“The pool, the fiber project, the incubator sites are straightened out. The Air Force housing has been filled, Plaza Diane is being redesigned — they're both viable parts of the community,” he said. “Communication is better between city departments (and with the public). People who have been here a long time will tell you the city has accomplished a lot in the last few years.”