Both candidates running to serve as Kenai's representative to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly touted their long-standing ties to the community and service in public office as reasons they should be elected.
Incumbent Betty Glick and challenger Margaret Gilman had a chance to share their views on borough issues at a candidate forum held by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
"Come Jan. 1, I will have been in Kenai for 43 years," Glick said. "... I've had leadership positions at the local, state and national level."
Gilman, who currently serves on the school board, said she was educated on the peninsula, plans to stay here and hopes her four children will, too.
"I am a product of the tax dollars that are paid to our local schools," she said.
Gilman and Glick agreed on many issues facing the borough, both saying they support local schools and believe assembly members should make it their top priority to listen to their constituents.
When asked about the borough's dwindling fund balance, however, Gilman took the opportunity to challenge the current assembly's spending habits, saying she believes the balance has been taken down too far.
Noting that the balance has been cut in half to around $12 million in the past couple years, Gilman said the borough needs more money in the balance to prepare for future contingencies.
"We need to have it in that 22- to 25-million dollar range," she said.
Letting the balance drop, she said, has left the borough in "a dangerous economic situation."
Glick said the borough chose to let the balance dip because of a desire to give tax relief and fund capitol projects.
"Tax relief as well as additional projects is what helped do that," she said.
As for the current surplus in the state's budget, both candidates said the borough should be careful what kind of projects it asks the state to fund.
"We need to make sure that surplus is there for today's children and their grandchildren," Gilman said.
Glick said any future projects should only be done if long-term costs are taken into account.
"Operations and maintenance costs, from my perspective, should always be a consideration."
In their closing statements, the candidates restated their belief that assembly members should always be accountable to what the majority of their constituents want.
"You have to do what's in the best interests of the Kenai Peninsula Borough," Gilman said.
"I have a vested interest (in the borough), and I think I've demonstrated that," Glick said.
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