Soldotna mayor, council members run unopposed

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Editor's note: The following is the third in a series of stories focusing on the upcoming municipal elections Oct. 4. Candidate columns and answers to a Clarion questionnaire can be found on pages A-4 and A-5 in today's paper. Wednesday's coverage will focus on the race for the Soldotna school board seat.

The mayor of Soldotna said the fact no one is opposing him or two city council members in their bids for re-election Oct. 4 is indicative of citizens' approval of the way the city is being governed.

Mayor Dave Carey and council members Lisa Parker and M. Scott McLane recently responded to questions about proposed annexation and other issues expected to come before the council in the not-too-distant future.

Through its Planning and Zoning Commission, the city is looking at possibly annexing four areas of Kenai Peninsula Borough land just outside the Soldotna city limits: a section of Ridgeway north of the city, an area south of the city encompassing Skyview High School and the Tsalteshi Trails, an area along Funny River Road in the immediate vicinity of the Soldotna Airport and an area along Kalifornsky Beach Road across from Community College Avenue.

"In my opinion, annexing these neighboring lands is a win-win situation for both sides," said M. Scott McLane, who is seeking re-election of his city council seat.

McLane explained his position by saying he believed the communities to be annexed would receive better police protection, improved road maintenance and the possibility of connecting to city water and sewer.

In turn, the city would benefit from annexation by expanding its tax base and "obtaining some economy of scale to services we already provide," McLane said.

Mayor Carey said he does not support annexation without a vote by the people of Soldotna, and Parker said she would support annexation only if the majority of residents support of annexation.

Another hot-button issue facing the city this year is the plan to create a city cemetery on West Redoubt Avenue.

Both Carey and Parker are in favor of the city having a place where residents can bury their dead and later visit their grave sites.

They also both referred to a report submitted by a specially appointed task force to the city council in August 2002, that identified potential locations for a cemetery as well as recommending design and management options.

Parker said in addition to a perimeter fence, the cemetery should have "a natural buffer" incorporated into its design. The task force's recommendation, she said, would set the cemetery "apart from the surrounding residential area and deter vandals and careless snowmachiners."

On the cemetery issue, McLane said the site should be compatible with the neighborhood and should be easily accessible to all residents and visitors.

As unopposed candidates for their respective positions, the names of Carey, McLane and Parker will be the only ones appearing on the Soldotna ballot for the city slots, and only an uncommonly large write-in campaign could unseat them.

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