1. Is there something in the city’s budget you would like to see changed?
Pete Sprague: I voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, and am satisfied with it. However, with the looming question of whether or not Kenai Peninsula Borough Ballot Proposition 1 will be defeated, next year’s budget discussion could be much more challenging.
2. Should Soldotna continue to study annexation? Under what conditions would you approve of annexation?
Sprague: I believe that the city should continue to study annexation. As a city council member and mayoral candidate, it is my responsibility to look to the future, to continue to explore ways to ensure the economic stability and careful development of Soldotna. Serious study of limited annexation is one way to do this. I would consider possible expansion out along Funny River Road to the airport, down the Sterling Highway to Skyview Middle School and city property at ARC Lake, and along the undeveloped corridor of K-Beach Road (all three are areas where some city services are already provided). The mayor does have veto power, and if elected I will be very cognizant of this.
3. Is there an issue that requires the city’s immediate attention?
Kenai Peninsula Borough Ballot Proposition 1 is an issue that is of great and immediate importance to the city. If it passes, the city stands to lose approximately $1.2 million in sales tax revenues, which will have long-term impacts on our financial health. Council has appropriated funds to campaign against this issue, and with less than a week until Election Day, this is about as immediate as it gets. I will be voting NO on that proposition.
4. What approach should the city take to regulating marijuana?
Sprague: City council and the mayor, the administration, and the Planning and Zoning Commission have held two work sessions addressing the marijuana issue. Our attorney was given some basic direction, asking that an ordinance be drafted for review by P&Z, and then brought to council preferably by the end of the year. This is unchartered territory for us here in Alaska, and I would urge us to err on the side of caution while following the intent of the initiative passed last November.