With seven home rule charter commission member candidates approved, Soldotna’s special city election will be held Feb. 3, 2015.
City council members Pete Sprague and Keith Baxter, Kenai Peninsula Borough president Dale Bagley, Program Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management Dan Nelson, manager of River City Books Peggy Mullen, Birch Ridge Golf Course owner Patrick Cowan and resident Jerry Farrington are the candidates voters will have the option of electing in little more than one month.
“This is a great group of people to be working on a home rule charter for the future of Soldotna,” said City Manager Mark Dixson. “It took them each considerable amount of time to get the 50 required signatures, and it will take a considerable amount of time for them to develop the charter.“
The commission filing period closed Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., but the required number of applications had been approved by Friday morning, said Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner.
There is now “ample opportunity” for the people of Soldotna to decide if they want a charter commission, said city council member Pete Sprague. A focus for the commission, if approved by voters, will be to evaluate any unintended consequences of adopting a home rule city charter, he said.
“Home rule is about allowing the Soldotna city residents to decide how they want to be governed and how the services provided by the city are financed,” Dixson said. “The council recently wanted to grant a variance but as a first class city was bound to follow state statutes. The city residents should decide how variances are awarded, not the state. City residents should manage their own pocketbooks.”
Residents who wish to vote in the special election must be registered in Soldotna by Jan. 4, 2015, according to state statute. To qualify voters must be registered at a residence address within Soldotna City limits for at least 30 days before the city election in which the person seeks to vote, according to state statute.
Voter registration applications are available at Soldotna City Hall.
Absentee voting for the special election begins Jan. 19, and goes through 5 p.m., Jan. 27. The polling place for the special election is Soldotna City Hall starting at 7 a.m. through 8 p.m.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.