Unopposed candidates, empty seats fill borough ballot

Posted: Sunday, September 24, 2000

There's something for everybody in the October 3 Kenai Peninsula Borough Regular Municipal Election.

For starters, three borough assembly seats will be decided. The candidate for District 1, an incumbent from Kenai, is running unopposed. Two candidates, both newcomers from Seward, are on the ballot for the District 6 position, although one has thrown his support to his opponent (See related story, this page.).

Three individuals have filed as candidates for District 9, one from Anchor Point and two from Homer. Also before the voters are two school board slots, 21 service area board positions, three ballot propositions, one city of Seward proposition and city council seats for Kenai, Soldotna and Seward. Six service area board positions have no candidates running.

"Where no candidate has come forward and filed, that particular service area board can appoint someone to fill in until the next regular election, in October 2000," said Sherry Biggs, deputy borough clerk.

In addition to the District 1 seat, another 10 service area board spots have only one candidate, according to a listing on the borough's election World Wide Web site,

A lack of candidates doesn't lighten the workload for staff in the borough clerk's office. More that 20 different ballots will be organized to address elections in the borough's 31 precincts. Seven of those districts, including Cooper Landing, Moose Pass and Hope, lack polling locations, and voters must mail in their ballots.

The lack of candidates doesn't necessarily mean a lack of voter interest, according to Soldotna City Clerk Pat Burdick. The city of Soldotna has two city council seats on the Oct. 3 ballot. Two candidates, one for each seat, have filed; both candidates are incumbents.

"I don't think people are apathetic because they do vote, they do register, they do come to council meetings," Burdick said. "Perhaps (voters) are happy with what our council members are doing. If they weren't, they would be here in droves. It's been my experience that if folks aren't happy about something, they do something about it. They come tell us or they run for office or whatever it takes."

Kenai City Clerk Carol Freas expects voter turnout to be light. In the Kenai, two council seats are up for grabs. Three individuals, two of them incumbents, have filed as candidates.

"When there's a mayoral election going on, (turnout is) usually higher," Freas said.

On the other side of the peninsula, Seward City Clerk Pat Reilly said it's hard to second-guess voters. Seward has four candidates running for three council seats. Seward voters also are being asked to vote on a five-year franchise agreement with Peninsula Sanitation Company Inc., a Division of Waste Management Inc. If approved, the agreement could contain an option to extend for an additional five years and would provide for an annual rate review with consumer rates to be set by resolution of the Seward City Council.

"For Seward politics, this is quite calm," Reilly said. "Still, there's a percentage that come to vote."

The three borough propositions are:

n Proposition No. 1, which asks voters to decide if the borough should borrow up to $7,429,000 through the issuance of general obligation bonds, the proceeds of which would be used to pay for planning, designing, site preparation, construction, acquiring, renovating, installing and equipping educational capital improvement projects within the borough;

n Proposition No. 2, which asks voters to approve or disapprove the exercise of powers necessary to provide fire protection and emergency medical services within the Greater Kachemak Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area established by borough ordinance; and

n Proposition No. 3, which focuses on the adoption of road construction powers within the boundaries of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Road Service Area.

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