Candidates look at financial situation, teen population

1. What’s the biggest issue facing Soldotna right now?

Brenda Hartman, Seat B: I think one of the biggest issues facing Soldotna is the need to recognize our teen population. They are important to the future growth of Soldotna and they need to know we care about them.

Pete Sprague, Seat F: I think that the biggest issue facing Soldotna right now is how to keep the city in sound financial shape in spite of the challenging economic situation that our country is facing at the moment, which even affects us here at the local level.

2. What can the council do to address the issue?

Sprague: I believe that Soldotna is well-positioned at this time. The city has been spending wisely and has a lean budget. Having the Central Peninsula Hospital, Kenai Peninsula College, and the seat of the borough government located here, coupled with the tourism and fishing industries, provides a strong economic base, as well as opportunity. We need to carefully address our needs and be fiscally responsible, while maintaining our high quality of life, as we look to the future.

Hartman: We can provide them with a place to spend time together that is a safe place. A place that does not require them to be in a sport, or plan events for them. They need a place where they can make choices and build on friendships. A teen center could provide this safe place for them without prejudice.

3. What made you decide to run for a seat on the council?

Sprague: I have served on the city council and the borough assembly in the past, and I wish to serve once again. I have found that being an elected official is an excellent way to give back to our community.

Hartman: I am currently on the council having served a 2 year term. I feel as though my job isn’t done. I have learned a great deal in the past 2 years and I would like to see some of the projects we’ve started moved further along or even come to fruition.

4. What are some of your goals for the upcoming term?

Sprague: There is always a learning curve when one is sworn in as an elected official, regardless of previous service. My first goal is to become acquainted with the council, the mayor, and the administration. That being said, I do have a few ideas in mind, including a change or two to the agenda, and exploring ways to make council meetings more accessible to the public. I look forward to serving the people of Soldotna.

Hartman: I want to see a teen center become a reality. I would also like to see further plans for improved bike/pedestrian trails as well as increased safety on those trails. I have helped with the initiation of these and again, want to see them become a reality.

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