Mose "Mo" Dunkel
Candidate for: Sandpoint Mayor
Years of residence in Sandpoint and Bonner County: 35
Marital status/family: Married to Janice, sons Justin, Blake, Layne, Graham, Tucker.
Education: Sandpoint High School, North Idaho College.
Recent or pertinent employment history: 17 years with Dunkel Logging Inc. as operations manager, I own a small business, past licensed real estate agent.
Nonprofit groups or service organizations to which you belong: Sandpoint Jr. Tackle board member, Sandpoint Little League coach, president of Sandpoint Arena/Spring Football, Knights of Columbus, LEAP-certified Idaho Pro Logger, working towards University of Idaho Master Forest Steward.
What particular experiences or skills qualify you for office?
I am what Sandpoint is all about and I am all about Sandpoint.
1. Among the myriad issues facing the city at present, what do you consider the single most important issue, and why? Please also describe any other issues you feel are important.
I see the biggest thing is having the right attitude about how Sandpoint proceeds into our future. This place is very special to me, I plan to be here whether things go good or bad. I'm sure we will make some mistakes while the transition to a town without two major highways going through it, but it's how we go about it that matters. We have to try not to step on toes while things change, not jump to conclusions without sound discussion, try to keep general emotionalism out of our decisions, and keep our eyes and ears on the here and now.
2. The city is on the cusp of major change with the Sand Creek bypass nearing completion and likely to be open for traffic ahead of schedule. Concurrently, city officials have been working with the Idaho Transportation Department to facilitate a realignment of Highways 2/200 from Pine to Cedar along the route of the old railroad line, the so-called “Curve.” Following workshops and public hearings, in September the Council approved a couplet concept for the realignment, and ITD is now undertaking final design. Do you favor or oppose the Curve project and design, and why? What issues do you see arising for the city from the construction and completion of these two major changes to local transportation infrastructure?
I favor the Curve project because it's the second half of getting thru-traffic out of downtown. I see an opportunity for Sandpoint to settle into the town we will be for the next 100 years or more. There will still be traffic as there are almost 7,000 people living here, it will just be more focused on downtown engagements and I see that as being good for business and the ability to enjoy what town has to offer locals and tourists.
3. The city's Impact Fee Advisory Committee recently reviewed the city's impact fee structure for recommendations to the city council. Impact fees are levied on new development to help offset costs the development imposes on public infrastructure and services. Do you feel that the city's current fee structure is equitable or would you advocate changes, and why?
If these impact fees are the reason there is very little new construction in town they need to be changed. In the past, cities relied on the future of charging property taxes and other fees as the route to covering costs. It's a double tax in my opinion, each year every residence pays for infrastructure and services through taxes. In other words yearly impact fees!
4. Following two public hearings, on a 4-2 vote the City Council recently approved purchase of the first of two parcels of lakefront property at $400,000 each, in cooperation with the City of Ponderay and a nonprofit group to acquire nearly a mile of waterfront and create the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail over a four-year period. Do you favor or oppose the trail acquisition, and why?
Rebuilding Barlow stadium is a higher priority I think. It's a facility that the city already owns and needs to deal with. This new project is new debt and in turn new expenses forever. I'm not opposed to the trail I just feel like now is the wrong timing to spend that much money.
5. The city in 2009 adopted major changes to its comprehensive plan. The city’s planning staff and commission has since been reworking zoning regulations to carry out the comprehensive plan, including newly proposed changes for residential zoning. Are you satisfied with the new comprehensive plan and zoning regulations? Describe your own posture toward managing growth in Sandpoint.
I've spoken to the city planner about the comp plan and I have read a small portion of it, it is very in depth and long to say the least, I'm sure there are aspects that I like and some I'm more hesitant of. My only reservation is that planning our future could be tricky depending on how flexible the plan is. I like to take it as it comes, that way we know exactly what we are facing.
6. The mayor and city staff have been participating with Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency and Downtown Sandpoint Business Association in an economic revitalization effort called Sandpoint Forward. How would you describe the economy of Sandpoint today? What role do you see for the City Council/Mayor to play in creating a healthy local economy?
Our economy is depressed, a lot of people I know have left the area to find work and most people are earning far less than even 10 years ago. One very big problem Sandpoint has is that it takes a couple decent paying jobs to afford to buy a home here. Right now there is very little good paying work and home prices are still high. We are losing people to our neighbors because of affordable property, business and residential. The new residential zoning may help with lowering property costs which could be a boost for housing. I'd like to see the up-front impact fees reduced or removed, this would lower the cost of building. Also do we need the permit process to be so lengthy? We compete with properties in the county that have almost no permit requirement and no impact fees. The sidewalk requirements are a little absurd in my opinion.
7. The City Council in September approved an ordinance banning hands-on cell phone use while driving. Do you favor or oppose the ordinance?
Oppose, there are already laws against distracted driving, but only when your actions actually cause you to not be in proper control of your vehicle. Redundant in my opinion and probably hard to prove in court as well.
8. Segways: The city police tested them this summer for use in downtown parking enforcement. What do you think of Segways for use by city police?
Not very popular, they may have their advantages but I don't think buying them right now would be wise.
9. Describe any other issues you believe are important; why you consider them important; and your position on these issues.
Sandpoint has great parks and recreation facilities and we have a very large number of youth participating in a variety of programs and sports. Most of the season our facilities are very usable but for a good portion of spring most of our fields are too wet to be used. I'd like to see an effort to find an affordable or cost-neutral way to install an all-weather turf field at one of the current parks. Maybe Bonner County could help out since about half the use is from county residents but only city taxes pay for these parks.
10. How many city council meetings or city committee meetings have you attended in the past year? Why are you running for public office?
None, I'm like most city residents, I vote and rely on my elected officials to do their job. I also volunteer about 15 hours a week to youth athletics along with raising a family and still find time to work full time. I simply have not engaged any of my time till recently to getting involved. I'm honestly running for mayor because a lot of people I respect have shown a lot of support for me. I care about Sandpoint being on the right track and in good hands for a long time. With all of the big things happening in the near future along with our economic situation I really want to make sure Sandpoint remains the best place on earth, just like it's always been for me.