As a voice of business along the Seattle-Tacoma business Corridor, the Greater Federal Way Chamber represents 480+ businesses, employing an estimated 25,000 workers in the South Sound region.
Can you imagine a place where jobs are plentiful, education is high, transportation is accessible, and everything around you seems rich with opportunity? The Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce can. It doesn’t happen by accident. Working together with our partners, stakeholders, and elected officials, your Chamber connects you to issues that can make a difference in your future and the success of our community.
The Chamber believes a mix of industries creates a dynamic business environment for the region and we work on behalf of members to create a prosperous economy in the South Sound region. To support that work, advocacy at the Chamber is focused on transportation, education and workforce, business climate, and global competitiveness.
At its June Board meeting, Directors of the Greater Federal Way Chamber endorsed the Federal Way Public School bonds to construct new classrooms and replace and renovate aging school facilities, Resolution No. 2017-04.
The bond resolution for new and modernized facilities will be on the November 7, 2017 ballot. The bond proposition does not include a tax increase.
The proposition will address aging and deteriorating facilities, address overcrowding, and enhance safety. The proposition was recommended to the superintendent by a 100-member committee of parents and community members and was based on objective criteria to assess building conditions and learning environment assessments performed by third party experts.
The proposition expands, rebuilds or modernizes Thomas Jefferson High School, Totem Middle School, Illahee Middle School, Lake Grove Elementary, Mirror Lake Elementary, Star Lake Elementary, and Wildwood Elementary, as well as
Memorial Stadium. The proposition will enhance safety at all sites, and will convert the old central kitchen into a central warehouse.
A successful bond package will benefit all schools with School Construction Assistant Program (SCAP) funding to address major maintenance needs, provides security enhancements and relocate Mark Twain Elementary. The ballot proposition is a $450 million investment resulting in no tax increase.
Also in June, the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors unanimously approved the bond proposition with no tax increase. Comprehensive information about the FWPS bond resolution and the Facilities Planning Committee is online at www.fwps.org/bond.
2017 Candidates Forum and Questionnaire
Each year, the Chamber of Commerce holds a Candidates Forum in October as an exclusive member benefit. Candidates are also invited to share their positions on issues important to the business community through an annual Questionnaire developed through the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. Learn more about the 2017 Candidates below.
Candidates Questionnaire Newsletter Special Edition 2017
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: Ninety percent of the business licenses in Federal Way are for businesses with ten or less employees. What is your plan to attract mid-sized (100+ FTE) with sustainable family wage jobs to Federal Way?
Jim Ferrell: We will continue to identify key industries that will fit well into our local economy. Next, we will identify possible employers and businesses locally, regionally and throughout the United States and Canada that may have an interest in coming to our area or are looking to expand.
We will research the history of these companies and then we will make contact with them. Once that follow up occurs and they are interested in further conversations, we will go meet with these companies to talk to them regarding opportunities here in our city. This is what we have been doing for the past few years and this work will continue.
The last piece of this strategy is to make sure the Chamber is brought in to assist with that effort, with regard to information sharing and to provide a resource for these interested parties.
Susan Honda: To attract businesses in Federal Way we must have a visionary leader; a leader that has clear strategies to promote the city and the benefits of having a business in Federal Way. We need to provide data about relevant factors such as population, economic metrics of the city and show how we can engage with local and global businesses. Federal Way must have an environment that supports business growth and retention. The city will partner with the Chamber of Commerce by having regular meetings sharing goals and results.
Q: Businesses continue to experience challenges with city zoning and permitting. How can the Mayor’s office, work to reduce the challenges related to business zoning and permitting?
Jim Ferrell: We need to have an open and transparent system that is streamlined to ensure that precious time is not wasted and that focuses on clear communication and expectations on both sides. Government has a role in the proper zoning and permitting but the approach from city government must be helpful, respectful and problem-solving. At the core of these issues is clear and prompt communication between the parties.
Susan Honda: The Mayor’s office can assist with zoning and permitting by streamlining and simplifying the building permit process so businesses have faster permitting and more predictability. As Mayor I will have the department of Community Development open longer hours to assist the public and businesses who are unable to come to City Hall during the current hours of 8:00am to 4:30pm. We will even consider hours during Saturday. I will direct staff to study zoning in other areas around the country, compare it to our strategic plan and make recommendations, changes and updates where needed.
Q: Businesses continue to experience issues related to regional issues of crime, drugs, and homelessness. As Mayor, what are the steps for each of these issues you can take to improve the Federal Way business climate?
Jim Ferrell: The number one priority of my administration and this city is safety. People and companies will only want to invest and stay here in Federal Way if they feel safe. That is why we have added police officers, added a downtown police substation and enhanced safe city cameras. We have also focused our attention on key areas of our city to address criminal activity.
Regionally, I brought together every Mayor, City Administrator, City Manager and Police Chief from South King County to address the regional gang crime activity. Those efforts are ongoing and we are working to identify known criminals and gang members and hold them accountable.
Additionally, on the issue of drugs and homelessness, I have a three part plan that includes clean-up of homeless encampments, referrals to the Day Center for information and referrals for housing, addiction recovery and for access to needed services. Third, I started the Homeless Mothers and Children’s Initiative to coordinate needed services in the community and to provide immediate and short term housing for the most vulnerable in our community.
Lastly, we need to be responsive to businesses that are having to deal with disruptions to their business or unwanted activities on their property. This is a necessity to ensure that businesses are not negatively impacted by the issue.
Susan Honda: I don’t believe the current plan of clearing the homeless camps out located on public and private property is a solution for the homeless, the business community or our citizens. Homelessness is a challenging issue caused by many different reasons. We must be creative and open to trying new ideas to address this issue. We must think outside the box. After emergency shelter, transitional housing is needed before permanent housing is found.
When a camp is cleaned out we must work with the regional partners and social services to provide a location where the homeless can be safely relocated. As the state’s 9th largest city it is unrealistic to think that we will not have a homeless population.
Q: The City supports the overall program of work for our business community through a Pivotal Partnership and contracts with the Chamber to develop material for its Hospitality Education & Training program. However, the Chamber continues to seek to participate in the business attraction efforts of the City. How do you foresee working in partnership with the Chamber at the table for economic development initiatives?
Jim Ferrell: This is a great idea and we will work with the Chamber moving forward on these recruitment efforts, from the identification and research phases all the way to personal contact visits. From that point we will ask the Chamber to help provide needed information to these interested companies and to provide advocacy for locating here in the city. I look forward to this partnership!
Susan Honda: As the Mayor of Federal Way I will hold regular meetings with the Chamber CEO and Chamber leadership and our Economic Development Director. I will have an office at City Hall that the Chamber can use to distribute information about their programming and events. Furthermore; I will create a group of Chamber and business leaders that will meet with me on a regular basis to discuss the business climate in Federal Way. As your Mayor I will be responsive and innovative in delivering quality services and promoting business growth.
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: How do you currently view Federal Way as an environment for business development and growth and what specific steps would you take to foster economic growth?
Bob Celski, Position 2: Federal Way is a positive and business-friendly place for new, expanding, relocating, and existing businesses alike. We must strive for continuous improvement, however, and never forget that we’re competing for businesses with neighboring cities and regions. I’m encouraged by our direction and results: DaVita, Kaiser Permanente, and a new local winery tell me we’re doing something right; Dick’s Drive-In opting for Kent and some occasional feedback from new businesses tell me we can keep on improving.
Emerging concepts like incubating “industry clusters,” or attracting like businesses to the same area, is something I’m becoming more and more sold on. Efforts to form these clusters can then expand, helping us “blitz” regional, national, and international players in relevant industries with the benefits and results of expanding to Federal Way. We can point to existing industry members, a winery for example, as a concrete illustration of why Federal Way would be a great move for their employees, their goals, and their bottom lines.
Lastly, for an industry-cluster concept to work and to remain loyal to those who chose Federal Way early on, we absolutely must continue supporting our existing businesses. Focusing on growth and marketing Federal Way as a destination for new and expanding businesses will not excuse neglecting the backbone of our local economy, and we can never lapse in promoting and supporting them.
Jesse Johnson, Postion 2: Federal Way is a unique city with dual access to freeways between two major metropolitan cities in addition to our close proximity to the Puget Sound and beautiful state/city parks and trails. Creating new businesses brings revenue but we need to first create an environment conducive for business. We have the opportunity to diversify our local economy through a 21st century plan of centrally located businesses within an environmentally friendly setting. Our city, including areas near our downtown corridor is primed for bio-tech companies, STEM related businesses, and smart development that provides living wage jobs with competitive salaries and can truly deliver on our promise as a city that is centered on opportunity.
As your next city councilman, I will provide efficient and effective planning alongside the Chamber of Commerce, School District and current business owners to build and expand our partnerships with businesses throughout our booming regional economy that are looking for a city with great schools, welcoming and inclusive neighborhoods, and leaders with a vision for the future. I would immediately call for a joint retreat between the city, school district, chamber of commerce, police and fire to look at our infrastructure through a cross-sector lens and collaborate on our next steps moving forward. Trust building requires transparent and intentional communication and two-way collaboration because no great work happens in isolation but in tandem.
A city’s biggest marketing tool for economic development is its’ schools and investing in schools is not only the right thing to do for our kids but it is also good for business. When our schools are healthy and thriving, so is our city. We are the highest referral district to the Puget Sound Skill Center in Burien, which indicates a desire of our scholars to enter the trades and occupational skills workforce. I have built partnerships with the CITC Construction, Electrical, Plumbing and Painting Program Directors in Bellevue and they are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Federal Way to bring a satellite campus to our city.
Diana Noble-Gulliford, Position 4: Due to the geographic proximity of Federal Way (between two large ports), Federal Way has a bright future to foster economic growth in international trade. Many Fortune 500 companies see the Puget Sound area as a vibrant economic engine. Marketing with the right tools and data to companies that would benefit from Federal Way’s prime locale would be beneficial to both large and small businesses. Utilizing resources such as land use consultants to identify businesses that Federal Way would appeal to would be extremely wise in marketing Federal Way to the world.
Hoang Tran, Position 4: The current business environment is molded for growth and attraction of businesses of all sizes. The diverse population and professions located in our City attract similar businesses and boost the economic growth. Being located between two large metropolitan areas makes Federal Way prime real estate for growth and development.
I would form a partnership with other City Council members and the Economic and Community Development director to work as a unified group to further develop our City. The next step I would take is getting to know our business owners and find out from them what they feel makes their business successful. Finally, I would also work with our City Government to help develop programs that would attract both local business owners and major corporations.
Roger Flygare, Position 6: As a member of the Chamber for several years now, I have witnessed a lot of small to medium sized businesses leave for a myriad of reasons. In fact, we all watched in amazement when Weyerhaeuser departed for Seattle. First and foremost, a good fit needs to be found for that property to maximize its fullest potential of bringing professional grade jobs to Federal Way.
Having had the opportunity to speak with the Federal Way Economic Director, it’s my opinion that his department needs more office personnel in developing those contacts. This year, 2017, I helped pass House Bill 2005,2017, to increase the ease with which businesses can handle their State and local license registration while at the same time get all their necessary endorsements any business, i.e., restaurants, medical, legal, retail, etc., may need. ONE STOP SHOPPING!!
As a member of the Association of Washington Business (AWB), I also worked with the AWB on the Paid Family Leave Act, which was passed by the legislature in 2017, to keep it affordable and businesses with 50 or less employees are exempt.
Federal Way is poised to be significant player in new business growth in South King County with its tremendous location of being between Tacoma and Seattle. However, with its lack of a seaport, heavy rail, I believe that Federal Way has a fascinating opportunity to recruit tech companies, a regional medical center, a university campus (Weyerhaeuser property).
I would work closely with the Economic Director’s Office in putting Federal Way’s best foot forward to those types of businesses interested in siting in our community.
Talking to nearly 10,000 homes as of 9/12/17, our residents favor businesses that will not necessarily include heavy tractor trailers and warehouses. They have also expressed a desire to see fewer large capacity apartment complexes without prior proper infrastructure being built in and around Federal Way.
Martin A. Moore, Position 6: Federal Way is open for business, and I’m excited for the economic growth and quality-of-life improvements that will come with our vibrant Downtown core and Town Center project. I want to see a diverse business base and the educational infrastructure to enable it (including formal higher education options like a UW satellite campus as well as expanding apprenticeship training programs in our city). I also want to see Federal Way be competitive when it comes to marketing and engaging businesses looking to expand or relocate, the work on which is already underway.
There are some improvements that must be made, of course, especially when it comes to accelerating the timeline of new business formations and consistently supporting and communicating with our existing businesses. Federal Way’s Economic Development Department needs more support after its funding and staffing levels were slashed during the recession, and having that department back at full strength will improve our efforts to help local business owners. Additionally, the byzantine application/permitting/licensing//inspection processes need to be examined to ensure new businesses aren’t getting pointlessly tied up in red tape after they’ve chosen to come here — I’ve heard of some businesses needing as many as EIGHT months to navigate our regulatory maze, and that kind of timeframe is absurd and counterproductive.
Finally, I’ll remain unequivocally opposed to efforts at establishing a B&O tax in Federal Way.
Q: Chamber businesses continue to experience challenges related to regional issues of crime, drugs, and homelessness. As a councilmember, what specific policies on these issues would you advocate for in order to improve the Federal Way business climate?
Bob Celski, Position 2: Visible drug use, discarded needles, and loitering abusers is a huge but little-discussed aspect of the opioid crisis. We’re doing what we can – I was proud to take an active role in getting the heroin-injection site ban in front of the Federal Way City Council – but our enforcement efforts need to continue expanding. I want to see the Federal Way Police Department continue adding police officers, and I want those officers to be highly visible in the community (presence during peak hours, participation in community events like the recent “Run With the Cops 5K,” etc).
Law enforcement, however, cannot be our only tool in cleaning our streets and protecting our residents and businesses. Federal Way must focus on expanding its efforts to curb homelessness and get addicts the treatment they need, partnering extensively with local and regional support services as well as the faith community to connect our needy with available services. We’ve recently been discussing quicker treatment solutions for drug addicts who choose to try rehab, and solutions like these will help ease businesses ongoing challenges with drug use.
It’s critical to our long-term efforts that Federal Way be known as a safe, secure community. Public safety is my No. 1 priority, and I will ensure we continue supporting our police and those who love this community as we fight crime, repulse the incursion of dangerous drugs into Federal Way, and disrupt and eliminate gang activity on our streets.
Jesse Johnson, Postion 2: As someone who grew up here in Federal Way raised by two hard working parents who were not well of and the oldest of 4 siblings and first to go to college, I understand the challenges that many of our families face. It takes transformational trust and community building to create the cohesiveness needed to form a vision that works for everyone. I have been doorbelling everyday across our city and the #1 concern is public safety. When business owners and employees don’t feel safe and comfortable in their own community, that is a problem.
When elected, I will be a strong advocate for ensuring that our police department is fully staffed and trained to deal with not only those committing crime but those that genuinely need help. We need to strengthen diversionary programs that end the cycle of street to jail and then back to the street. We need to step up prevention efforts by increasing wrap-around services for youth and families, including job training and mental health services. We also need to enforce our laws and we cannot sweep property crime under the rug.
Increasing public safety and trust between our police department and our community is one of my top priorities, as is ensuring that we have a thriving local economy right here in Federal Way. As this question implies, the issues facing our city are incredibly interconnected and when you pull one lever, it will have an impact that reaches far and wide through other sectors and issues in our city. For example, we need to better plan and manage our growth. We cannot continue to build in areas where schools are already over-capacity and roads are congested. The housing crisis has reached out city limits. We can begin by holding developers accountable to impact fees/taxes that could pay for new and improved city roads, sidewalks, schools and emergency fees/services. As city leadership, we need to prioritize mixed housing such as townhomes, condos, and duplexes which are a lot less intimidating than a 6 story apartment building.
In regards to homelessness, we need a multi-tiered comprehensive plan in place that includes codes/ordinances that prevent people from just laying on the streets or in the woods and anti-displacement and anti-gentrification policies that utilize some of our well-preserved campgrounds for designated places for the homeless so they are provided housing if they need it but are not living right in the middle of business hotspots and prime areas. We must also grow our wrap-around service infrastructure for people with mental illness or drug/alcohol issues.
Diana Noble-Gulliford, Position 4: The crime in Federal Way is having a severe impact on Federal Way’s businesses. I support the policy of 1.4 police offers per thousand residents that the voters of Federal Way approved via Prop. 1 in 2006. I do not support an injection site in Federal Way or King County. City resources are needed to help our small businesses discourage crime and theft. I am concerned that if crime is not reduced, we will lose more of our businesses and the ones that stay will feel that they need bars on their windows. Panhandling in parking lots discourages shoppers. Many shoppers do not shop at night due to the lack of safety.
Hoang Tran, Position 4: Public safety is one of my top priorities. I believe that by fully funding the police department and providing our dedicated law enforcement staff with adequate training/equipment we would be better positioned to reduce crime in our area.
Homelessness is another top priority of my campaign. As a resident of Federal Way and Administrator of our local Community Service Office it is very evident that we do not have enough resources or housing available to tackle this chronic problem. Developing policies that address incentives that would entice landlords, developers, and management companies to reduce rental costs for our community members trying to obtain stable housing is one step that we could take that would reduce the homeless population. This policy could mirror current incentives that are provided for businesses that hire felons, in which tax incentives are provided. The second policy I would advocate for creating, is a team that provides outreach to the homeless that are trained to provide resources and services, whether that is employment needs, drug and alcohol treatment, or mental health aid to name a few.
Roger Flygare, Position 6: To have a significant impact on these issues, I believe it’s more than a single city solution. Our sister cities, Burien, Des Moines, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, to include Seattle and Tacoma, need to develop a sustainable approach regionally. It’s my opinion and the opinions of residents of our city that Federal Way can’t solve these issues alone.
I conducted a local poll on the Safe Injection Site issue where over 3,000 people could participate. The voting was upwards to 400. The poll disclosed that close to 90% were against having an SIS site in Federal Way. At the doors talking with my fellow residents, it’s been 100% against having an SIS site.
In summary, I would work with our residents, local businesses, as well as our sister cities and with King as well as Pierce County officials to bring forth a workable and sustainable solution to crime, drugs and homelessness.
I would also encourage the Chamber to hold stakeholder meetings to investigate the viability of a Local Improvement District (LID) to help address these issues with financial backing.
Martin A. Moore, Position 6: I’m proud to have already helped hire more officers, build a new police substation near our Downtown, and ban heroin-injection sites from Federal Way. But we can do more, and we need to always do it with an eye toward safety, compassion, and results.
I know all about the business community’s struggles with this issue, and I’ve personally visited with a number of local entrepreneurs who have reported troubles with drug users and the homeless abusing their places of business. Two of those businesses are located off of Pacific Highway, in an epicenter of drug use – I spoke with the Chief of Police and got more patrols there, but there are many other businesses that are still struggling with this issue.
So high visibility of our officers is important. Our officers are tireless, talented professionals, and we need more of them on patrol and making it clear that crimes that get committed in Federal Way will be seen and dealt with. But let’s face it: Arrests can only solve crimes after they’re committed. I want Federal Way to attack the ROOT causes of crime, be it addiction, mental illness, or hopelessness that’s leading to neighborhood violence, homeless folks loitering outside businesses, or drug users littering their needles onto our streets. We can’t just keep reacting; putting Band-Aids on our challenges. If we can restrict panhandling, support addiction services, and partner with community activists to reduce homelessness then we won’t need Band-Aids at all.
Q: What is your position on the City of Federal Way’s Utility Tax proposal?
Bob Celski, Position 2: I am in no way supportive of new taxes, and my preferred option for funding the services necessary to manage our growing population is to do so through increased revenue from continued economic growth. It would be irresponsible to take the utility tax off the table entirely – in the unlikely event that everything in our growth projections fall apart then the utility tax is the least regressive means of generating new tax revenue – but as of right now I want to see Federal Way expand the roster and depth of taxpayers, not expand the number of taxes.
Jesse Johnson, Postion 2: Personally, I support the proposal as a way to fund more police officers in our department. However, I believe that if the City is going to propose a tax increase that we must also look at each and every line of the budget and make sure that the money we already have is being spent appropriately and in places where we are seeing a strong return on investment. The dollars that the City spends are come from the hard-working residents and business owners of our city, they are not just numbers on a spreadsheet or a dollar that appeared from nowhere. We have to make sure that we are respectful and building a fiscally responsible budget with the revenues that we have, especially if the City is going to ask the citizens for more.
Diana Noble-Gulliford, Position 4: I am against any new taxes at this time.
Hoang Tran, Position 4: At this time I do not have enough information to comment on the proposal. However, before any tax increase is passed the City needs to thoroughly examine the increase and the effects it will have on our businesses and citizens to avoid a negative outcome for our community members.
Roger Flygare, Position 6: My quick answer is: NO! In talking with officials at Lakehaven, their response would be Lakehaven would sue to stop a utility tax on their services being paid to the City of Federal Way, I would not be in favor of extending a Utility Tax on Lakehaven’s services.
Martin A. Moore, Position 6: Against it.
Q: In addition to funding resources, how do you plan to work with the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce on economic development and other business initiatives? Please be specific on the project and what you see your role in that partnership to be.
Bob Celski, Position 2: By focusing on promoting Federal Way as a business-friendly city, the City and Chamber have already taken a positive step. I want to see us continue that with a joint City/Chamber committee that establishes a shared vision of economic and community development. We can use our combined resources and experience to learn what other South King County communities are doing to create and incubate success, explore best practices for zoning and code amendments, and cooperate on everything from sign codes to optimal building heights, locations, and appearances. As a small business owner and City Councilmember, I can have tremendous influence by staying involved and offering my perspective on our partnerships at both the Committee and Council level, and I intend to do so.
Jesse Johnson, Postion 2: Part of why I’m running is to bring diversity to the Council and not just diversity in terms of skin color or age, but also in background and experiences. My background is in education and youth engagement/empowerment. I would love to lead a project, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, to increase the engagement between our businesses and our young people. We have so much potential right here in our own city but youth need opportunities in and outside of school to give them the skills they need to succeed. Strong educational opportunities and schools that produce young people ready to enter the job market and hit the ground running is key in attracting new businesses to our local economy and I would love to partner with the Chamber to identify areas where our schools (high schools and CTEs) and our business community can connect, collaborate, and build more opportunities for a prosperous Federal Way.
Diana Noble-Gulliford, Position 4: My land use experience can bring to the table many years of experience in how land use is interpreted and encourages business and economic development. Federal Way is at a crossroads – we need to work to keep the businesses we have in Federal Way and also work to encourage other businesses to come to Federal Way. I have a huge concern about Federal Way’s traffic congestion and the impact the construction of Sound Transit will have on the business community in Federal Way.
Hoang Tran, Position 4: The three current legislative projects: transportation, business climate and global competitiveness, and education/workforce development are all very lucrative and necessary for Federal Way to continue to prosper economically and grow. As a partner of the Chamber on these projects I feel that I would take on a role that we advocate for more resources in all three areas. Specifically, I would like to see the educational components of the project be further developed by forming partnerships with our Community Service Offices and the local colleges/schools making education a possibility for all.
Roger Flygare, Position 6: I was surprised to learn that the Chamber and the City don’t really participate together on economic development issues. In my mind’s eye, for example, the Town Center project would be a good example where the Chamber and the City could work a lot closer to ensure the viability of that area.
As a member in good standing of the Chamber and AWB, I see my role as being one of working across the aisle(s) with the city and the Chamber and other interested entities.
Martin A. Moore, Position 6: There’s a distinct lack of communication and cooperation between the City and the Chamber, and that iciness is a counterproductive tragedy. I see a lot of potential there, however, and would fully support working toward an effective, parallel-purpose collaboration between the Chamber and City. An idea I’m happy to sign onto is a joint committee, one that establishes those parallel purposes and solidifies a shared vision for Federal Way. After that, the sky’s the limit when it comes to ensuring that the City and the business community work together for the good of Federal Way.
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: As an incumbent, how do you think the five goals in the FWPS 2020 strategic plan support and enhance the business climate for our region?
Carol Gregory: All students will be prepared academically and emotionally to become successful members of of the Federal Way Business Community. They will also graduate with a career plan and understand how to work in a diverse community.
Geoffery Z. McAnalloy: As more and more of our scholars leave their K-12 experience in Federal Way Public Schools and pursue their path whether 2 or 4 year college, apprenticeships or directly into the work force, the strategic plan will help to ensure that they are prepared no matter what path they take.
Q: As part of its Vision 2025 project, the Chamber looks to Incorporate skill development of workers as a priority for both employers and economic development strategies. How do you foresee working with the Chamber on this initiative?
Carol Gregory: As a Pivotal Partner supporting and participating in Chamber programs and initiatives.
Geoffery Z. McAnalloy: The partnership between the Chamber and the school district will only enhance the goals within the strategic plan and prepare our scholars for the requirements within our community and enhance the development of the skills required and needed within Federal Way.
Q: As a Pivotal Partner, the Federal Way Public School System supports a program of work that includes preparing our future workforce. How do you foresee working with the Chamber on workforce and other business initiatives? Please be specific.
Carol Gregory: The school district is an active member of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce and that must continue. We must be active in the community planning process and align our resources to meet the identified goals. That should include but not be limited, to aligning our career development programs to meet the needs of the regional business community, and through our workforce and that of the greater community provide students for hands on learning about jobs that are and will be needed in our community.
Geoffery Z. McAnalloy: The partnership is vital for our scholars and our community to ensure that we are preparing our scholars for the jobs required within Federal Way. We must partner with the Chamber and business community to understand and enhance the opportunities and needs within Federal Way to prepare our scholars through Career and Technical Education exploration and apprenticeships opportunities for our scholars that will be available once we pass our Bond to build the nine new buildings within the school district.
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: What is your position on the City of Federal Way’s Utility Tax proposal?
Len Englund: I am against the city’s imposition of a utility tax on the ratepayers of Lakehaven. Lakehaven (water tanks, treatment plant, pipes, buildings, vehicles, etc.) already belongs to the citizens it serves. It’s infrastructure and future is supported and maintained primarily by rates. Washington’s laws does not allow Lakehaven to impose any taxes, it can only set rates (and we have some of the lowest in the area). It does not make sense that a city be allowed to impose a tax on the same people Lakehaven is not allowed to tax? A utility tax on a system the public already owns is a back door tax; tax the citizens would have no representation for.
As commissioner, I will oppose any utility tax by the City of Federal Way because it is not fair to its citizens and rate payers (who, by the way are the same people). It is plainly and simply “taxation without representation”. If the city votes to tax Lakehaven, my vote on the Lakehaven board will be to vigorously fight this effort by doing the following: #1. Vote to refuse to pay any utility tax and let the courts decide if it’s constitutional. And #2. Vote to defend, in court, any attempt by the city of Federal Way to collect the tax.
Q: How do the needs of the business community influence the decision-making process in your role as Commissioner?
Len Englund: It is important that the businesses in the area get the best rates for both water and sewer. These charges affect the bottom line and the better the bottom line is for business, the better business can server the community with jobs and low cost services.
Q: What is your fiscal management plan for long-range planning of our water and sewer resources?
Len Englund: At Lakehaven we are constantly analyzing the needs for the community. “Rate Studies” are a part of that assessment. These are performed by an outside firm using complicated formulas and algorithms that take into consideration the various ages of the infrastructure, its lifecycle, projected repairs and replacements among other things. The firm also analyzes our “Comprehensive Plan” and makes assumptions on future costs. Once all these figures are analyzed, the board gets an exhaustive rate report. The rates are brought before the board and the public in hearing. After the hearing the board votes on adopting the proposed new rates.
Q: Lakehaven is invested in long-term community growth through a Pivotal Partnership with the Chamber. How do you plan to work with the Chamber on business outreach and economic development initiatives?
Len Englund: Being a pivotal partner with the chamber of commerce helps Lakehaven and the community by allowing Lakehaven to have a finger on the pulse of business. It also provides us another avenue to communicate with the rate paying business community through something other than our newsletter. The chamber partners with Lakehaven in sponsoring several outreach opportunities both in print and special events.
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: How do you see the role of the Federal Way business community in the King County Growth Plan for the South King County region?
Q: In your role on King County Council, how do you promote Federal Way as a regional leader in business and what are your plans to connect the Chamber to County initiatives and resources?
Q: What are your priority areas of focus to enhance the business climate for the Federal Way area within King County?
Q: The King County Growth Plan calls for the annexation of unincorporated areas into cities. What is your position on unincorporated areas abutting Federal Way?
No response received at this time.
Candidate Questionnaire – Business and Economic Issues
Q: Future ballot measures are included as part of the South King Fire & Rescue strategic plan. What are your goals for these ballot measures in your long-range planning?
James A. Fossos: Our paramount and most important goal is to assure that the LIFE, SAFETY AND MEDICAL/RESCUE SERVICES that we provide are THE VERY BEST for the citizens that we serve. The Fire Chief and the Commissioner’s have a responsibility & duty to provide the necessary resources that will enable our FireFighers to carry out the LIFE SAVING MISSION THAT THEY ARE SWORN TO PROVIDE. My goals are to support our Fire Chief’s and the Board of Fire Commissioner’s strategies and goals that will continue to provide the highest quality of service to CITIZENS of SKR&R. In order for us to do this we must do the following:
1. Our Department must be properly funded to assure that we continue to carry out the Strategic Plan.
2. Assure that our Fire Chief and his staff have the necessary support and tools to carry out our mission of LIFE SAFETY.
3. The proper staffing levels on all Fire Apparatus.
4. Funding for an additional Aid Unit.
5. Continue to move forward with our plan to develope a new administration and training facility adjacent to our Fire Station 64.
6. Expand our current Public Education Department.
In summary SOUTH KING FIRE AND RESCUE LEADS THE WAY. WE ARE RECOGNIZED AS A TOP NOTCH FIRE DEPART AND IN ORDER FOR US TO CONTINUE TO MOVE FORWARD WE MUST STAY AHEAD OF THE FUNDING SOURCES.
Mark L. Thompson: 1. The funding model currently used was very good for rural fire districts when instituted by the state of Washington in 1900’s our fire district currently is providing urban level services on a rural funding model and a maintenance operations levy; our number one goal is to bring our funding mechanism into the 21st century using the Benefit Service Charge which will provide stable funding to meet the growing demands for service from the community and allow the district to have a long range stable and predictable funding base with citizen review every 6 years!
2. Additional Aid Cars are needed to keep up with the demand for Emergency Medical Services (EMS); currently many times there is only a single Engine Company available to respond to emergencies as the other 6 are busy on EMS calls or other emergencies. Aid cars cost $1.5 million each to operate; which is not available with our rural fire district funding model!
3. Construct and staff fire station 60 in the south central area of the district near Costco; so as to improve response times in areas of the district where more commercial and residential buildings are being built along Pac Hwy South.
4. rebuild our Capital Reserves, that were depleted during the great recession in 2008 to 2016 to maintain response units and staffing, so as to not have to expend funds to run bond issues to purchase equipment.
Q: How are the issues of homelessness and drug use impacting services of South King Fire & Rescue and how do you plan to address it?
James A. Fossos: This is a real issue for us. Timely responses to our community needs is essential and if the homeless need our services we will be there for them. If it is a life safety EMERGENCY immediate care will be provided by our highly trained FIREFIGHTERS. Our FireFighters are extremely knowledgeable regarding the social needs of our homeless community and they will act accordingly.
Mark L. Thompson: Homelessness has an impact on our districts responses, as citizens unfamiliar with the homeless seen around the city call 911 in an attempt to help someone laying in the bushes or on sidewalks etc. but are not in medical distress. Our EMS teams are trained to offer or call agencies that can assist the homeless get needed assistance that is not medical in nature; if it is medical in nature our members treat the persons medical issues.
Drugs use/overdoses are an ever present and growing impact on EMS; our teams respond, provide care and call for Paramedics when a higher level of care is indicated.
State law does not allow fire districts to use district funds to address homelessness and drug issues. We are relegated to response to calls for help and try to get folks into the social services in the area.
We currently have a grant from King County Public Health for a CMT, Community Medical Team, that staffing is shared with South King Fire and Valley Regional Fire Authority to respond to homeless or non-emergent cases and make referrals to social service agencies for those that are in need.
Q: Over the next six years, South King Fire & Rescue will face succession issues as much of it workforce becomes eligible for retirement. What challenges do you foresee relative to the leadership of South King Fire & Rescue?
James A. Fossos: Our Fire Chief, Chief Dr Allen Church at the Commissioner’s direction Ahmad already put a well thought out plan that will allow us to continue to be one of the best lead Fire Departments in the State or States. I am confident that we will move forward without skipping a beat.
Mark L. Thompson: South King Fire & Rescue has implemented a succession plan as part of the Districts Strategic Leadership Plan. Chief Officers are mentoring Captains and Lieutenants to be the future leaders; Captains and Lieutenants are mentoring fire fighters to be acting officers; Leadership training is ongoing and we have been stressing the need for upper level education degrees, enrollment in the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program and supporting participation in out of district National Fire Academy and other fire service continuing education and leadership programs. We are committed to hiring our future leaders from within and have been promoting members to continue their education to achieve Bachelors and/or Master Degrees relative to fire and emergency administrative services.
Q: South King Fire & Rescue supports the overall program of work for our business community through a Pivotal Partnership with the Chamber. How do you plan with the Chamber on initiatives to improve our business climate? Please be specific.
James A. Fossos: We have only been a pivotal partner for a year. In that time commissioners have been participating in monthly chamber luncheons, meeting with various business owners and chamber members; participate in various workgroups with our other public and pivotal partners to address community issues and participating in various local business networking functions, spreading the word of who we are and that our fire district is one of 5 Class 2 insurance rated fire departments and the FIRST FIRE DISTRICT to become a Class 2 rated in Washington State, which saves our businesses significant dollars on insurance; this was a long time goal that started in 1969!
Mark L. Thompson: We have a strong bond with the Chamber and we are committed to moving our great City forward through the leadership of the Chamber. We have really been impressed with how well the Chamber has helped SKF&R to get our messages out to the community. The Chamber has helped the business community to better understand the mission and capabilities of SKF&R.