Letter: Soldotna annexation and our mayoral candidates

  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017 9:46am
  • Opinion

Soldotna annexation and our mayoral candidates

With our local elections just a couple of weeks away, it is important that the voters know where the candidates stand on this highly contentious and divided issue. I have had the opportunity to explore the candidate’s involvement in annexation or lack thereof, and have asked the candidates for their responses.

The only mayoral candidate who has clearly stated his position on annexation is Mr. Charlie Pierce. Mr. Pierce has stated his opposition loud and clear and does not have any personal or financial gains to be made from annexation. He clearly stated that if he is elected as mayor, he will support the borough residents who stand against forcible annexation by the city.

Dale Bagley, on the other hand, has been a driving force pursuing Soldotna’s continued expansion and has publically stated he is for annexation. He also was a member of a (non-public) task force formed by the City of Soldotna 3 years ago to select annexation areas. These meetings were not disclosed to the public until it leaked out at a workshop session on annexation. When he has been asked during the debates about his position, Mr. Bagley states that only the borough road service will be impacted. Never anything about the impact on businesses and families who will be directly affected. One may ask if there are conflicts of interest at work here. Realtors, banks, developers, investors, and speculators may all have an interest in seeing annexation go forward.

Linda Hutchings has stated that since it is a city issue, there is nothing that can be done at the borough level if she is selected as mayor. Her husband, Dave, was also one of the 12-member secret task force on selecting the annexation areas. Ms. Hutchings is wrong when she states there is nothing she can do if elected mayor. Borough Assemblies have a very strong say when it comes down to annexation. Resolutions can be written and voted on, along with other strategies.

With forced annexation close at hand, who do you want leading the borough? Do you want someone that respects the personal and financial reasons why people choose to live or start their businesses outside of the cities? Or do you want someone from Soldotna who is highly motivated to see annexation plow through regardless of what the borough residents want?

Brian Olson

Borough Residents Against Annexation

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