Soldotna charter commission to begin meeting

Members of Soldotna’s charter commission will begin meeting to delve into making the city a home-rule community.

Soldotna residents voted to form the commission during a special election May 10. One factor that prompted the citizens’ initiative to bring the vote forward was Soldotna’s loss of a year-round sales tax on nonprepared food items during the October 2015 general election.

The Soldotna City Council certified the election results at its Wednesday meeting. The seven-member charter commission will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. June 13 at Soldotna City Hall. Commission member Linda Hutchings said the meeting will serve as an opportunity to elect a commission chair and to get organized for the work ahead.

The commission will start by looking at examples of charters from other home-rule cities in the state, Hutchings said.

Dale Bagley, another commission member, said the members are generally happy with Soldotna as a whole and not looking to make too many major changes.

“Actually what I’m hoping is that the administration just does their absolute best to come up with a sample charter and then ask us what the five, six (or) seven items that we really care about are, and then we can dig into those,” he said.

Hutchings said there are several different components to be looked at when forming a charter for Soldotna, but said tackling the city’s sales tax is not the only goal.

“It is about keeping the city a nice and small and picturesque city with a lot of services that we have come to enjoy,” Hutchings said.

Hutchings said all commission meetings will be open to the public.

“This is a very transparent process,” she said. “We’re not going to be trying to hide anything from anybody.”

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