Soldotna draft charter nears finalization

A draft home-rule charter for the city of Soldotna is on its way to the public for their thoughts and comments.

Charter Commission members approved some last wording changes to be included in the final draft of the charter at their Thursday meeting at Soldotna City Hall. They set a public hearing for citizens to come make comments on the charter draft for Thursday, July 28 in Soldotna City Hall Chambers.

Commission Vice Chair Linda Hutchings asked whether the commission will have time to make additional edits to the charter should someone point out a glaring mistake or omission and was reassured there will be time to schedule another public hearing, make changes and still get the draft on the ballot for the upcoming general election in October.

Commission members could even approve the changes at the public hearing depending on the turnout, said member Dale Bagley.

The commission also agreed to host additional open house meetings for people to learn about the draft charter after it is finalized.

“I think it might be nice to have an open house in the event that, if people did have questions … if we are interested in having this passed, we would be able to have them more well-versed because I think sometimes ideas get misconstrued by people,” said member Penny Vadla.

“It might be a great time to educate our voters,” added Commission Chair Scott Davis.

The open house meetings will be scheduled at a later date. These will be opportunities for the public to learn about the draft charter, Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner clarified, not to make suggestions, as the draft charter will be finalized for the ballot after the public hearing.

One member of the public, Lisa Parker, spoke at the Thursday meeting and commended the commission on the work its members have put into the charter.

“I would recommend to inform people, you know, chamber luncheons, rotary luncheons … just to get the word out so people know what’s going on,” Parker said.

Saner said she will have 15 days to get the charter published for the public after it is finalized. She will also prepare a copy of the draft charter for people to view before they attend the public hearing, she said.

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