I would like to address two issues that need close attention over the next three years. City finances in light of declining state funds and citizen interaction with the city.
City finances in light of declining state funds:
We should take a close look at the capital projects and evaluate what is really needed, and what we can get funding for.we should put a hold on any new projects, such as the KOOL event park.
Large projects should go to the voters even when fractional funding is used. This was the intent of the code, and fractional funding circumvents this intention. We should have a tax/spending limit that is set and changed by the voters. These two provisions would go a long way to putting control of the finances in the hands of the residents.
Upkeep of infrastructure and services should be a top priority. This would include the waste water treatment plant and roads. We should not start new projects.
We need develop a policy for funding non profits. Should we be giving them land or other city assets. They should be funded by voluntary contributions.
Citizen interaction with the city:
There are just over 1000 businesses licensed to operate in the city of Kenai. 7100 people reside in the city of Kenai. Most city revenues are paid by the citizens, not the businesses (sales tax is paid by the customer, only collected and passed on to the government by the businesses.)
Yet when it comes to the city council, commissions, administration and planners, it is the businesses that seem to get most of the consideration. Part of the reason for this is that business has organizations working on their behalf, the Chamber of Commerce and the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District. What do the residents have?
Since the 1980s or so the neighborhood residences have said they do not want Kenai Spur Highway opened to commercial development, nor do they want Lawton Acres or the strip of trees along Waker Lane developed. But the city keeps trying to develop these areas. Residents have also said they want buffer zones between the airport and Woodlands Subdivision. The city is resistant to grant this. This are just a few instances where residents have been ignored.
In recent years there has been an an ongoing process of reducing the general public’s effective access and input to city government and putting power in the hands of fewer and fewer bureaucrats and politicians.
This trend needs to be reversed. Some of the things we can do to reverse this trend is:
— Term limits for Mayor and Council.
— Tax/spending cap that requires voter approval to change.
— Use of technology to inform and interact with public.
— Develop one or more community councils of residents to advise the council. Citizens know what they want in their neighborhoods.These community councils will not be formed or run by city bureaucrats or politicians, but by the residents themselves.
Please vote for Bob McIntosh for Kenai City Council on October 4th.