Filing period open for Soldotna charter commission candidates

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014 11:20pm
  • News

Soldotna’s period for Home Rule Charter Commission member candidates to submit nomination petitions opened Monday and will close 4:30 p.m., Dec. 19.

Soldotna’s Special City Election for electing members is scheduled for February 3, 2015. The election will be cancelled if less than seven qualified candidates apply and are verified by the municipality, according to Alaska Statue Title 29, which defines how municipalities must adopt a city charter.

“It is an interesting process because it encompasses so much,” said retired Kenai City Clerk Carol Freas, who is filling in for Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner until Monday.

Only one packet had been received as of Tuesday, Freas said. Since that application has not been processed the candidate’s name may not yet be released, she said.

Charter commission candidates must provide a nomination petition signed by at least 50 qualified voters, according to the Charter Commission Candidate Filing Packet. As an alternative, state statute requires the candidate must gather signatures that amounts to 10 percent of the votes cast in the municipality’s last election if that number equates to less than 50 required signatures. Soldotna’s last election was Oct. 7, 2014, which received 857 total votes, according to the Charter Commission Candidate Filing Packet.

Nominees must also complete an information form including a photograph of themselves and a 200-word statement, according to the filing packet.

Packets are available online or at Soldotna City Hall in the Clerk’s office, Freas said. Forms are free.

Eligible candidates must have been qualified to vote in Soldotna for one year preceding the charter commission election on Feb. 3, according to the filing packet.

All elected candidates will adhere to State of Alaska Campaign Disclosure Laws, according to the filing packet. This includes submitting reports of all contributions and expenditures made during the election period.

Freas said the filing process is extensive. It is vital applicants allot the proper amount of time for completing their packets, she said.

Candidates should aim to acquire more than the minimum number of required signatures, Freas said. It is important to make sure the voter signing a petition is qualified to vote within city limits, she said.

“Sometimes people may have moved and not yet changed their legal address,” Freas said.

The Soldotna City Council unanimously approved the election for the commission on Nov. 12. If qualified city voters chose to elect a commission, the group has one year to prepare and propose home rule charter for an existing municipality, according to state statute. The proposed charter must be signed by a majority of the members of the commission.

 

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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