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Rathdrum Council Hopefuls Speak Out Water Metering, Downtown Renewal Top Causes

Thu., Oct. 30, 1997

Two incumbents and a newcomer to city politics are competing for two slots in the Rathdrum City Council race.

The two candidates receiving the most votes at the Nov. 4 election will win the open seats.

The polling place for the Nov. 4 election is Rathdrum City Hall.

Here’s a look at the candidates:

Brian Steele, a five-year resident of Rathdrum, says the city mishandled water metering when it billed some residents for metered water usage and others at a flat rate. He started a petition to stop the metered billing.

“To me, it’s an issue. It’s just not fair,” he said.

“What I think should be done is there should be more of a direct plan and the city should make some dates, set when they will finish (installing the meters).”

His second main issue, he said, is that the city may have wasted thousands of dollars when it failed to put up for public bid a project to install a 12-inch water line in town last September.

For various reasons, the city instead exchanged numerous free hookups in a subdivision for the job.

“So how much money did the city lose with not putting that up for public bid? Nobody knows how much the job was worth,” he said. “I’d just like to help, try to get in there and watch and see where money is spent so there’s not any money wasted.”

Steele works as a sales and marketing manager for Ponsness/Warren, a manufacturer of gun reloading equipment.

Mark Worthen, an incumbent and third-grade teacher at Betty Kiefer Elementary School, wants to revitalize downtown.

“We need to have a focal point other than the strip malls or the grocery stores here and there,” he said.

And the city needs to expand its park system, he said.

“To do anything with parks, we’re going to have to spend a little money,” he said.

He conceded that the council probably made a mistake in billing some residents for metered water and others at a flat rate.

“I think looking back at that, probably the best thing would have been to wait until everyone was on the meter,” he said.

“During that period, I probably had 150 people talking to me and they all felt the same way.

“Sometimes, we’ll have meetings where two or three people would show up. I personally like it when people are here telling us what they think.

“I think I’ve been a good listener. I try not to be a yes man.”

When candidate Beverly Young, an incumbent, started her service to the city of Rathdrum, it was on the planning and zoning commission because she wanted to improve her town.

“Then I found out there’s a lot more that needs to be done besides just putting up a facade,” she said.

During the 17 years she’s lived in Rathdrum and the four years she’s served on the City Council, she has wanted to revitalize downtown.

“It’s never going to be as big as Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls, but I want there to be a sense of hometown in Rathdrum,” she said. “Getting this revitalization off the ground is something I’ve worked real hard on for the last 10 years.”

She wants better roads and sidewalks, for one thing, and says once the city begins to revitalize a few blocks in downtown, the city will have a better idea of where to get more funds to support broader improvements.

While in office, she supported building the new City Hall and worked with the community and the rest of the City Council to build the new water reservoir.

“I know a lot of people,” she said. “I try to listen to the entire community.”

, DataTimes

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