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Williams for road, against tying officials’ hands

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2005

Reducing the ceiling cost for what the assembly can spend on capital projects without a vote of the people and setting a maximum sales tax ties the hands of elected officials when they try to balance the borough’s budget, Kenai Peninsula Borough mayoral candidate John Williams said at Thursday’s Nikiski Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Williams was addressing two propositions that will appear on the borough election ballot Oct. 4.

Proposition 4 would require a 60 percent vote of the public before the assembly can approve any capital project in excess of $1 million.

Proposition 5 would set the maximum sales tax rate at 2 percent on the first $500 of retail sales. Any future increases would require a 60 percent vote of the public.

Williams is against the provision in each proposition requiring 60 percent voter approval to make changes to the propositions.

He said a 60 percent approval means that there is a 41 percent minority control over the future of what they are going to do.

Williams also outlined his positions Thursday on other borough issues.

· As borough mayor, he said he will support removing the cap on the borough’s land bank fund. Under Williams’ plan, it would become a permanent fund where only the earnings could be spent.

· He said he supports building a North Road extension that goes all the way to Point Possession at the northern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. This road would be tied into a proposed high-speed ferry system that would service the end of the road at Point Possession continuing on to Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough.

· Williams said he wants to get state funds to reinstate some form of municipal assistance and revenue sharing. These funds could be used for anything the municipality saw fit, he said.

· He said he would continue to lobby for better formula funding for education. This is the formula that determines the per-student cost the state will fund. Williams said the state’s current system uses the same formula for the borough as it does for Anchorage. However, Kenai Peninsula Borough schools have a different situation with bigger cost differentials and need a different formula, he said.

· He said he supports a natural gas pipeline to Southcentral Alaska. In addition, the state should take an ownership interest in a North Slope pipeline, he said.



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