Big issues on Tuesday’s ballot

  • Saturday, October 1, 2016 3:23pm
  • Opinion

A quick reminder in case you’ve been out hunting over the past couple of weeks and haven’t picked up a paper or listened to the radio: the Kenai Peninsula’s municipal election is Tuesday.

While there may not be a full slate of contested races, there are important issues on the ballot, including some borough-wide propositions that will shape tax policy for years to come.

The borough-wide ballot propositions include bonds for the Central Peninsula Landfill and South Peninsula Hospital (only South Peninsula Hospital Service Area residents will vote on that one) as well as measures to increase the cap on the amount of a transaction subject to sales tax, and to phase out the borough’s optional portion of the senior citizen property tax exemption. We hope voters take the time to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each proposition.

There are three borough assembly seats up for election. Wayne Ogle (District 3-Nikiski) and Dale Bagley (District 4-Soldotna) are running unopposed. Debbie Cary, Paul Fischer, and Bill Holt are running for the District 7-Central/Kasilof seat.

For the Board of Education, Dan Castimore (District 1-Kalifornsky), Lynn Hohl (District 6-East Peninsula) and John “Zen” Kelley (District 9-South Peninsula) are running unopposed.

Candidates also will be elected to fill seats on the borough’s various service area boards.

Voters in Kenai have a full ballot, with Brian Gabriel and Hal Smalley running for mayor, and five candidates — Jason Floyd, Jim Glendening, Christine Hutchison, Bob McIntosh and Glenese Pettey — running to fill two at-large seats.

In Soldotna, four candidates are running for the four seats on the ballot: Tyson Cox for Seat B; Tim Cashman for Seat D; Lisa Parker for Seat E; and Regina Daniels for Seat F.

While the races for council seats are uncontested, Soldotna voters do have a very big question on the ballot: “Shall the proposed City of Soldotna Charter be adopted?”

A yes vote would adopt the charter, spelling out the city’s powers as a home-rule city. A no vote would send the charter commission back to the drawing board to come up with a new charter.

While national and state-wide elections tend to get bigger headlines, municipal elections are just as important — if not more so. The people elected on Tuesday are the ones entrusted with making decisions that hit closest to home, such as setting rates for property and sales taxes, and just as importantly, deciding how those public funds will be allocated.

Those are issues that can, quite literally, impact you in your own back yard. Take the opportunity to weigh in on them on Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

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