Sprague: Home rule an important discussion for city

  • By Pete Sprague
  • Sunday, October 5, 2014 6:33pm
  • Opinion

It has been, and continues to be, an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Soldotna. I believe that Soldotna is a vibrant and growing community with lots of potential. It is exciting to be a part of the process to help realize that potential as we move forward.

I believe that one of the biggest issues before the people of Soldotna, and one in our immediate future, will be the discussion about becoming a home rule municipality. The City of Soldotna is currently classified as a first class city by state statute, with certain duties and responsibilities prescribed by law. In short, we are a general law city.

According to the booklet “ Local Government in Alaska” prepared by the Local Boundary Commission staff updated March 2004, “While general law local governments in Alaska have broad powers, home-rule governments have even greater powers….Adoption of a home-rule charter promotes maximum local self-government to the greatest extent possible….Home rule was held to be the vehicle for strengthening both state and local governments by permitting the people to deal with local problems at the local level.” In short, a home rule municipality would have more control than a general law city over its own destiny.

This past summer, two taxation issues, a borough-wide bed tax and a court ruling on the non-prepared food tax exemption, came to the forefront once again. As a general law city, Soldotna is required to follow the lead of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Whether or not you support a bed tax or a holiday on taxation of non-prepared food items isn’t the issue at this time; what I believe IS at issue is whether or not Soldotna should be able to set its own taxation policies without interference from another entity. In short, should we be able to control our own destiny.

The process to make a transition from general law to home rule city will a long one, with a final decision to be made next October if a draft charter can be created in a timely manner. There will be lots of work to be done between now and then. The key to the process will be public involvement, so I am asking you all for your help. Please consider serving on the charter commission when it is established, please participate as the process moves forward, and most importantly, please vote if and when a charter is presented for final approval.

Your consideration is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

More in Opinion

t
Opinion: Freedom in the classroom sets precedence for the future

We advocate for the adoption of legislation to protect students’ First Amendment rights…

A roll of “I Voted” stickers await voters on Election Day in Alaska. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the prospect of a state constitutional convention. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Election winners, losers and poor losers

Tshibaka and Palin misread Alaskans by thinking Trump’s endorsement all but guaranteed they’d win.

This 1981 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an electron micrograph of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. Children’s hospitals in parts of the country are seeing a distressing surge in RSV, a common respiratory illness that can cause severe breathing problems for babies. Cases fell dramatically two years ago as the pandemic shut down schools, day cares and businesses. Then, with restrictions easing, the summer of 2021 brought an alarming increase in what is normally a fall and winter virus. (CDC via AP)
Alaska Voices: What Alaskans need to know about RSV

By learning more about respiratory illnesses and taking helpful actions, we can all take steps to improve the situation

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Multiplying the power of every local dollar given

Each community foundation is a public charity that focuses on supporting a geographic area by pooling donations to meet community needs

The Homer Public Library as seen on Aug. 18, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (File photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Point of View: Banning books corrodes diversity and inclusion in our community

Recently, a community member requested that a long list of books be removed from the children’s collection

Peninsula Oilers fans display encouragin signs for Oilers’ pitcher Bryan Woo, Friday, June 28, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Judging judges — balancing the judicial selection process

Alaska’s method of selecting judges can be and should be improved.

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The realities of Palin’s political demise

Palin wouldn’t be running for the seat if Rep. Don Young was still alive

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading “Vote No Con Con,” during a recent rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: What can a liberal and conservative agree on? Voting against a constitutional convention

“We disagree on many issues. But we… urge Alaskans to vote against Proposition 1.”

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Down to the wire: Be prepared before you vote

Remember your voice counts and all votes matter

Soldotna City Council member Justin Ruffridge. (Courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: We must refuse to reward ugly political tactics

With our vote we have to show that extremism and dishonesty do not win the day