'Results man' runs again

Micciche seeks another term as Soldotna mayor

Peter Micciche doesn't sleep a lot.

 

Aside from his day job as the superintendent of ConocoPhillips' Kenai LNG Facility, the current mayor of Soldotna spends the rest of his time speaking with constituents, attending meetings, and toting his wife and kids to various fundraisers, award ceremonies, and other miscellaneous events.

And really, he doesn't miss the sleep.

Micciche is running for a second term as mayor of the town of 4,000, due to both personal desire and public encouragement. Three years, he said, wasn't quite enough time to tick every last item off his list; six years, though, should be just right.

"I had a list of objectives for the city and we've checked off most of them," Micciche said, "but the more I've learned about the city, the more I realize we have additional items to do to continue moving forward."

Some of those checks Micciche is most proud of are reducing the cost of living, cutting property taxes by 30 percent, and completing the city's comprehensive plan. Developing recreational areas, such as the Soldotna Community Playground and Soldotna Creek Park, as well as addressing public safety by installing street crossings at schools are also high on his list.

"The city has grown significantly and it's being run well," Micciche said. "And now that we have those acute issues out of the way, we can start looking at those more peripheral issues that will provide for a better planned and more positive future."

These future goals include possibly annexing more property to engage in responsible growth, implementing more laws geared toward river conservation, and revegetating key areas in town.

One of his main goals, though, and the thing that has been most frustrating about his time in office, is working to get more citizens involved in the public process.

"I feel that folks are apathetic about participating," Micciche said, pointing to abysmally low voter turnout numbers and a strikingly empty council chambers every two weeks.

"If you don't like what your officials are doing, work to replace them," he urged. "If you feel you have what it takes to improve the situation, run for office."

Micciche wants people to understand the importance of being educated on the issues, and that they have the tools to effect positive change in their government.

"But, they have to bother to show up," he explained.

While that aspect of city politics has been somewhat discouraging, Micciche said the most satisfying experience he has had thus far as mayor was his work on the Soldotna Memorial Park cemetery, an ancient issue laden with conflict that was finally resolved during his term.

"I don't mind dealing with confrontation," he said, "and I feel my role is to serve as a primary catalyst to help people solve, in this case, a decades-old disagreement."

Micciche said this success, and all of the others he has experienced during his time in office, are only there because of both the public's and the city staff's participation and their willingness to work hard for the betterment of Soldotna.

Some might wonder why Micciche is running for another term in Soldotna instead of taking a stab at the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor position. Micciche claims he is a "results man," and that sometimes it is harder to see the fruits of one's labor when working with a larger area and larger constituency.

"I feel that I can make the greatest positive change in my immediate community right now," he explained. "What happens in the future is hard to say."

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