Soldotna voters head to polls for special election

  • Monday, February 2, 2015 10:57pm
  • News

Today, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Soldotna voters have the opportunity to vote on whether a charter commission shall be elected. The election will determine if Soldotna takes one of the first steps toward becoming a home rule law city.

Voting takes place at Soldotna City Hall.

While voters are not explicitly voting on whether Soldotna becomes home rule, if the “No” vote prevails in Tuesday’s election, it would essentially kill the home rule debate for the foreseeable future.

Should the “Yes” votes win, a charter commission consisting of seven members will be elected to draft a charter. There are only seven charter commission candidates on the ballot, but it is possible to write-in other names.

The seven candidates vying for a spot on the commission are Jerry L. Farrington, Keith D. Baxter, Dale Bagley, Peggy Mullen, Pete Sprague, Patrick S. Cowan and Dan Nelson.

Farrington said he wanted to play an active role in the community.

“I didn’t want to complain,” Farrington said. “I wanted to do something about it.”

The seven charter commissioners would have one year to draft a charter that would be put up for a vote at a later time. The charter would give the city of Soldotna more autonomy when determining issues that are currently limited or determined by the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Bagley said the impetus for wanting home rule stemmed from an initiative that would eliminate a tax on non-prepared foods during the winter months.

“The biggest burning issue is the food tax,” Bagley said.

Bagley said that if there were a grocery tax exemption, the city would probably increase the property tax to negate the loss of tax revenue.

Another option would be to cut city programs, but Bagley said he didn’t know of any that could realistically be cut.

“I don’t know where the big chunk of fat is in the city of Soldotna,” Bagley said.

The charter commission election has been a topic of controversy. Many around the community, such as Soldotna resident Daniel Lynch, have claimed the city hasn’t done enough to educate the public.

“My biggest concern is that people are uninformed that there is an election, what the election is about, and voting on commissioners who are already elected because they were the only seven that applied,” Lynch said.

Many people, including Sprague, expect a low voter turnout of less than 500 people.

Regardless of the outcome, people including Lynch hope the voter turnout is strong.

“What would make me happy is if 75 percent of the voters on the roll show up, because the rolls haven’t been purged in quite a while, and that would be about 100 percent,” Lynch said.


Reach Ian Foley at

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read