Soldotna city voters have their options laid out for the upcoming Oct. 5 council elections.
Kyle Fisher, a manager for Lynden Transport; and Lonnie White, a former public safety officer; will vie for Seat E. Regina Daniels, who works for Davis Block & Concrete, is running unopposed for Seat D. Incumbents Peggy Mullen, Seat D; and Edward Sleater, Seat E; opted not to file applications to run in the election.
Fisher, 28, plans to create a more efficient government by utilizing new forms of technology. The manager proposed researching how other municipalities and counties use technology in the day to day operations of city government. Such practices could serve as an oversight mechanism to track employees, he said.
Fisher plans to increase Internet access within the community to enable the business community. Fisher thought the library should offer web use classes to educate the community.
"We can't assume everyone knows how to use technology," he said.
The manager praised the city's current efforts to upload documents to its website, and plans to explore video and audio options, as well.
"We're going we need to lead the charge and stay ahead of neighboring communities," he said.
Fisher said that the council should focus on promoting well-maintained businesses along Soldotna's highways. An emphasis should be put on landscaping and "curb appeal," he believes.
"I'd hate to see wrong type of establishments built on the thoroughfare," the candidate said.
White felt obligated to join the race because he complains about politics with his friends, and it was time he became involved.
He is campaigning to dish out more city work to the private sector. The retired safety officer thought the city should privatize the cemetery project and Centennial Park operations.
The former policeman and fireman said that the city should review its public safety expenditures as well.
"The local police department may be a bit top heavy with management," he said.
White supports technology when it serves its purpose, but thinks the council should account the cost incurred by the taxpayers when investing in it. Electronic databases also dehumanize city relations, according to the former public safety officer.
He said that the city government should remember it runs a small town when setting its budget, as well.
"A town of 4,000 in the Lower 48 would be considered a small town," he said.
Both candidates felt that the Kenai River requires a watchful eye. Fishing and tourism bring in a good amount of business to the city.
"To sustain city for a long time, we need to protect the river," said Fisher.
However, White felt that the city shouldn't take on too much responsibility "when so many levels of government are involved."
Daniels plans to increase traffic safety measures along the Sterling Highway, which cuts through town. She believes the Sterling and Birch Street intersection needs a stoplight.
"It's a step away from someone getting hit," she said.
Her main focus is parks, recreation areas and trails. She would like to see a bike path through the city, in addition to the Unity Trail along the highways. She likes what the city has done with Soldotna Creek Park, in her opinion, and thinks Soldotna should increase access to the park along the highway. Daniels wants to see more like it along the Kenai River.
She believes that the council should use technology to increase the government's efficiency and engage the youth.
"It's obvious times have changed," she said.
Daniels filed at the last minute because no one else was running.
"My winters are pretty free," she said.
Tony Cella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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