Kenai mayoral candidates talk development

In Kenai’s October election, two candidates are running for mayor and three are running for two open seats on the city council.

Bob Molloy, a nearly eight-year running city council member, is competing with incumbent Pat Porter for mayor. Porter is completing her third three-year term as mayor.

Mark Schrag, Terry Bookey and Brian Gabriel Sr. are competing for the two council seats. Schrag filed the ballot proposition calling to repeal the city’s recently approved comprehensive plan. Both Bookey and Gabriel are incumbents.

All candidates are spending less than $5,000 campaigning, City Clerk Sandra Modigh said.

If elected, Molloy plans to increase town hall meetings to solicit more public involvement in city-wide decisions, update old zoning code, and improve future planning, among other plans.

Kenai’s top priorities, Molloy said, are completing the bluff erosion stabilization project and construction of the city industrial park, maintaining a stable budget while retaining a low mill rate, and continuing to provide quality city services as federal and state funding withers. Increasing resident participation in council work sessions is also a city priority, he said.

Porter, if re-elected, plans to make residents more proud to live in Kenai and businesses more likely to move to the city. She will also work to attract more tourism to the city, while maintaining the city’s “livability.”

Kenai’s top priorities, Porter said, are maintaining a good personal-use dipnet fishery management plan; fostering “responsible resource development,” such as oil and gas production; completing the bluff erosion stabilization project; providing a low property tax; and capitalizing its community assets: parks and playgrounds, historic sites and scenic views.

Schrag, if elected, plans to hold council more accountable, increase municipal government policy oversight and make council chambers more friendly.

Kenai’s top priorities are to increase its residential and small-business development — but, while protecting the residential-business development balance, he said. Residential quality of life is paramount, he said.

If re-elected, Bookey plans to continue building more pedestrian trails as part of the city’s trails master plan, improve the city’s quality of life so it can keep its residents in town, and improve the transparency and ease of government process.

Kenai’s top priorities in Bookey’s eyes are its bluff erosion stabilization project, rehabilitating and expanding its infrastructure, continuing to effectively manage its dipnet fishery, and making the community more attractive to residents and businesses, he said.

Gabriel’s plans if re-elected are to provide job opportunities to young families, facilitate a good quality of life for seniors, maintain a high level of service while balancing low tax rates, and improving the city’s trail systems.

The city’s top priorities, he said, are continuing to improve its management of the dipnet fishery; developing Kenai Municipal Airport lands and incentivizing its leases; and expanding its parks, playgrounds, bike paths and walking trails.

The municipal election is Oct. 1.

Deadline for voter registration is Sept. 1. If residents recently relocated, changed their political affiliation or their name, or believe their precinct placement was incorrect, they need to reregister to vote.

Absentee voting will begin Sept. 16 through mail, email, fax and in person. More information is in the clerk’s office or the city’s website.

Polling sites include: the Kenai Mall, Challenger Learning Center of Alaska and the Kenai Senior Center. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close 8 p.m. Election Day.

Voters needing assistance come voting day can call the clerk’s office at 907-283-8231.

Last year’s elections drew 16 percent of the city’s registered voters, or 810 residents out of 5,110, Modigh said.

This story has been updated to correct a typographical error.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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