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Libby City Council candidate: Leland 'Lee' Bothman

| October 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Editor's Note: The Western News submitted a series of questions to candidates in the Libby City Council election. This candidate is vying for one of three available full-term seats.

Describe yourself.

I’m a lifelong resident of Libby who loves nothing more than spending time with my family. We love our time at the lake, boating, 4-wheeling, riding motorcycles and playing with our dogs. I have a strong sense of community, having served as the president of the Libby Merchants Association, co-chair of the Libby March of Dimes Walkathon and many years volunteering with the chamber, Logger Days and Nordicfest.

What is your present occupation?

I own and operate The Printing Press and Kootenai Valley Record with my wife, Rhonda.

Why are you running in this election?

There is still a lot of work left on projects that I think are important to Libby. We are at a very important juncture right now, being in the process of replacing our longtime supervisor of city services, Dan Thede, and our chief of police. These are decisions that will affect every person in Libby and the surrounding area for many years to come. It is vital these decisions be made by an informed city government, knowing what the responsibilities of each of these crucial positions entails.

What should be the city’s top three priorities?

1. Debt reduction. The city presently spends a tremendous amount of money in interest. If we can lower our debt load we could lower water rates, etc.

2. Energy efficiency. There are currently monies available to help us replace inefficient equipment throughout the city. By replacing our existing street lights with more efficient ones we could save a tremendous amount of money each year.

3. Maintaining our quality of life. We need to act in a prudent and sane method offering the highest quality of city services without putting an undue tax burden on our residents.

What has been the present council’s biggest achievement?

The “council” changes anytime any member of the council changes. The present council’s greatest achievement, since the appointment of Ron Carter, without a doubt is working in conjunction with the county, state and KRDC to bring Stinger Welding to Libby.

What has been the present council’s biggest weakness?

Our dealings with the EPA. We are government entities and you would think that we would all be working together for the best interest of the people of the area. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. The EPA has been rushing us toward a record of decision on OU1 that could leave a terrible financial burden on Libby, Lincoln County and the state.

What do you love most about Libby?

The people. This is a community with a tremendous amount of heart. And, of course, the natural beauty.