William (Bill) Dowling
Years of residence in Sandpoint and Bonner County: 39
Marital status/family: I've been married for 42 years, 39 of those years spent in Sandpoint. We have two daughters born and educated in Sandpoint.
How can the public contact you?
Recent employment history: I recently retired as manager of the downtown branch of Panhandle State bank. I spent 39 years in banking, mostly in Sandpoint.
Public offices held: I have never held a public office.
Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:
I am currently not involved with a non profit organization but over the years have been very active.
What particular experiences or skills qualify you for office?
I believe my years of banking and management skills will give me the knowledge needed for city budgeting and dealing with the public and planning for the future growth of Sandpoint.
1. Among the myriad issues facing the city at present, what do you consider the single most important issue facing the City of Sandpoint?
I believe one of the biggest challenges the city is facing is the growth on north Boyer, the college campus, a new high school and the development of the former LP mill site. How will this affect the housing needs, fire protection, police protection, water/sewer and the traffic flow. These decisions will impact and have a lasting effect on our city. I want to be a part of this decision making.
2. Housing prices have increased dramatically in Sandpoint, while local wages are increasing far more slowly – effectively precluding many residents who work in the local economy from purchasing a home. For the past year city staff and a group of local employers have been searching for housing solutions. What are your ideas for creating affordable housing for our residents who work here?
The land and building costs do not allow us to build homes that can be afforded by the average wage earner in Sandpoint. If elected I would work with the newly formed Bonner Community Housing Agency to implement suggested changes to land-use codes and/or impact fees in order to remove legal barriers to bringing housing costs down. Without affordable workforce housing, Sandpoint will stop being a community and become a place where we would not choose to live.
3. Two resort city tax proposals will be on the ballot in November. Do you favor or oppose continuing the existing 5% tax on lodging? Do you favor or oppose the new proposed 2% tax on liquor by the drink? And in each case, why?
I support the continuation of the 5% lodging tax as it is paid by visitors and is low compared to other resort communities.I am still researching the 2% liquor tax as it appears that it will not be added onto drink prices but paid by bar and restaurant owners, which is the opposite of the intent. I support taxes on visitors, not on our business people and citizens.
4. What conditions – for example, impact fees or provisions for affordable housing – should the city place on requests by adjacent property owners for annexation into the city?
The bottom line for annexations is that the cost of service extensions (sewer, water, etc.) must not be covered by the citizens of Sandpoint.
5. Downtown traffic and parking are two oft-cited city ills. There are efforts currently under way by the City and the DSBA to improve parking. Do you think these efforts are on the right track? What would you do to improve parking downtown?
The City and DSBA have made an effort to improve parking with limited land and funds. I wish we could find the funding for a parking garage.
6. Although the Idaho Transportation Department was recently granted a permit for the Sand Creek bypass, it has conditions to meet and also faces a lawsuit from opponents. As the bypass will have major impacts on the city, voters want to know where candidates stand.
First: Do you favor or oppose the Sand Creek route for a bypass, and why?
I'm in favor of the bypass. I think this would improve the flow of traffic downtown and allow the locals and visitors more freedom to enjoy our downtown stores.
Second: Among the issues involved, an offer by ITD to give the city land alongside the bypass in exchange for maintaining a new park has been a matter of contention; do you favor or oppose that proposal?
I'm in favor of a new park on Sand Creek. The City Beach is crowded in the summer and this would allow us more space for everyone to enjoy. I can envision this as a family park.
Third: ITD has made no commitment to turn control of the Highway 95 route along First, Cedar and Fifth back to the city after the bypass is built; do you believe that should be a condition for the city to support the bypass?
I think the City should have control of Highway 95 through the downtown area. We could make the decision of routes, controlling the traffic, etc.
7. On traffic issues: even if construction of the bypass begins soon, ITD says it will take several years to build. Do you believe the city should seek traffic solutions more immediately – and what would they be?
The City has to take immediate action, planning traffic flow during the construction of the bypass. We must make every effort not to hinder our downtown merchants and make the flow of traffic smoother than it is now. I'm researching and talking to people, getting their input concerning traffic flow.
8. Why are you running for public office? If you are elected, how much time will you be able to devote each week to your position?
I'm running for office because I have the time and having lived here for 39 years, have seen many changes. I want to be part of the future decision-making process that will make this a better city in which to live and work. I believe the city will see some of the biggest changes in the next few years, more than the 10-15 years of past. This is now the time for all citizens of Sandpoint to come together and make the right decisions for our future.