Latah’s two mayoral candidates share similar concerns but different views on their small town.
After living in Latah for 20 years and serving on city council for five years, Carole Meissner said she knows how the city works and what its needs are.
But Brianne Howe, a 35-year-old mobile lawyer and process server, said she believes Latah’s political leadership needs a new perspective.
“There is a general sense of community in this city,” Howe said. “It’s a quiet town and people look out for each other.
Latah is a small farming community in southeastern Spokane County with a population of 187, according to the 2020 census.
Meissner, a 78-year-old antique trader, wants to continue projects the city council has already started, such as creating an emergency shelter and installing a second well system. The council is using money from Latah’s COVID-19 relief program to buy a generator and turn the town hall into an emergency shelter.
Winters in Latah can be harsh, Meissner said, so she also wants to buy a snowmobile in an emergency. A few winters ago the city was completely snow-covered and cut off from all resources, including medical services, and an elderly man died.
“We need some kind of warning system, and we’re working on it.” she said. “Mainly because there is a lot of snow in these areas … and fires … they can pass through your town quite quickly.”
Howe said she wanted to look for better plowing equipment for Latah’s maintenance man. She also wants to see if it’s possible to get a city marshal, as it takes over 40 minutes for deputies from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to arrive.
Howe said she knew the council had plans in the works, but believed communication and transparency were lacking. She wants local leaders to engage more with the city by including minutes from previous council meetings and an agenda for the next meeting along with the city’s monthly newsletter, which is sent to residents with their bill. ‘water.
“The city hasn’t really been informed unless you go to council meetings,” she said. “In the past, they used to attach the meeting minutes and the provisional agenda, which would give you the opportunity as a resident to write or call … and express your opinion on something. “
Meissner said she also wanted to attach more information to the newsletter to encourage residents to attend council meetings.
Latah needs everything any other city needs, just on a smaller scale, but everything in government takes time, Meissner said. It took him three years to reinstall the lights in the park.
“It’s really hard to get things done very quickly. I’m from the business world… businesses are faster, ”she said. “With the government, we need that approval and that approval.”
Meissner tried to put up a pedestrian crossing sign on the street next to the Latah post office where National Road 27 passes. She said drivers tend to ignore the 25 mph speed limit.
The county re-bounded the crosswalk, but refused to install a sign unless an accident has occurred within the past 25 years, Meissner said.
“I would like to know that children cross the streets safely,” she said.
The post office has become the default place for residents to pick up additional food and supplies, Howe said. She wants to create a gathering place such as a community garden or a farmers market to foster community relations.
Because of her history of working with nonprofit organizations, Howe said she knew there are grants for small towns that can help increase Latah’s budget to fund things like housekeeping. streets and help for the elderly.
As part of his campaign, Howe went door to door to find out what residents want from their local government.
“I really want to involve the community, to have financial responsibility and to have the contribution of the community,” she said.
Because the city has less than 200 inhabitants, the campaign is not based on financial capacity but on ties within the community and encourages a higher participation rate.
“I hope I will be given the chance to improve the city,” said Meissner. “I guess that’s always everyone’s hope when they run for town hall.”
The current mayor of Latah, Teresa Galvin, is no longer running.
Howe and Meissner previously faced off in 2019 for a seat on Latah City Council when Meissner won 43-21.