POST FALLS - Kerri Thoreson and Ron Jacobson sit elbow to elbow on the Post Falls City Council.
Both want to become Post Falls' next mayor on Nov. 5.
And, on Tuesday night before about 30 members of the Highlands Homeowners Association at the Highlands Grill, the two shared their thoughts on what makes them the best candidate.
Current mayor Clay Larkin decided to not seek re-election.
Both Jacobson and Thoreson bring community service and knowledge of city issues to the table, but have different skills.
Jacobson, 57, has served on the City Council for 14 years and is the current council president. He touted his financial background of being in the banking industry for 35 years and said that's an asset come budget time. He has been a senior vice president for Inland Northwest Bank for the past 13 years.
"I know how to deal with businesses," said Jacobson, who previously served on the Parks and Recreation Commission. "The city is well-positioned to handle economic expansion. We can always improve, but I like the direction we're going."
Thoreson, 61 and a semi-retired independent writer and photographer, said she believes communication is one of her greatest strengths.
"I enjoy working with and energizing people," she said. "I see the role of the mayor as not so much in a board room signing papers as being in the community and motivating."
Thoreson has been on the City Council since 2007 and she served on the Parks and Recreation Commission a year before that. She ran for mayor in 2001 and lost to Larkin.
Thoreson said she originally entered city politics because she didn't believe the city was always responsive to the input of citizens.
"I made a vow that, when I'm elected, I'll return every phone call and email to anyone inclined to have a conversation," she said. "I'm happy to report I've done exactly that."
She is a former publisher/editor of the Post Falls Tribune and a former executive director of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.
One of the concerns raised was that Post Falls residents pay more taxes than many other area cities.
Both candidates shared the concern, saying 89 percent of the property taxes in Post Falls is paid by residents and just 11 percent from commercial/industrial. Some other cities are closer to 50-50.
They say Post Falls must broaden its tax base, yet still do whatever is necessary to retain existing businesses.
Thoreson said she would "aggressively and enthusiastically" urge citizens to shop local to support Post Falls businesses.
Jacobson said he would work toward improving coordination between the city and agencies such as Jobs Plus and the Panhandle Area Council to attract more business.
His goal is for the city to increase the commercial/industrial side by 10 percent over the next two years and 20 percent over the next four years.
Thoreson said she would take her first 100 days in office to review city operations and meet with city employees before rolling out ideas for change.
Among the other topics raised by attendees were the Greensferry overpass and the snow berm removal program.
Construction on the overpass is set to start next year. The snow berm removal program, a courtesy service for some seniors and those with disabilities, was recently in limbo due to citizen abuse of the system before the council decided to keep the program in place and address the abuses.
Both candidates say they support both efforts as they have and will provide a valuable service to residents.
They were also asked about their vision for Post Falls' future downtown and specifically the Post Falls Landing property on the west side of Spokane Street.
Thoreson said the project should be well-planned so a parking garage isn't highly visible as it is with some other multi-use developments, but Jacobson said he wouldn't mind a garage being somewhat prominent off Spokane because it supports the activity and businesses in that area.