Fischer Education, economy should be borough priorities

District 7 Central

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2007

Name: Paul Fischer

Age: 71

Occupation: Small business proprietor

Family: Wife, Joyce, children, Mary, David, Mike, Steven, Ann, Karen, Matthew, Chris, Thomas

Education: B.S./M.E.D. completed coursework high school principal and superintendent

Organizations and special interests: Ninichik Senior Center, National Rifle Association, Kasilof Regional Historical Association

Previously held elected office: Alaska State Senator, Postsecondary Commission, Kenai Peninsula Borough Asembly

1. As a candidate (incumbent or challenger), list what you see as the three most important issues the assembly must address in the next three years.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is a 2nd class Borough with limited powers. i.e. (education, solid waste, planning and roads). Additionally, there are several service areas restricted to limited geographic area i.e. (Central Peninsula Hospital Service Area).

Within the confines of a 2nd class borough's powers the most important issues include:

1. Education:

a. Continuing to assure our schools are adequately funded by the Borough within the limits set by law.

b. Assure facilities are maintained in excellent conditions.

2. Economic:

a. Tax only for the amount required for a fiscally responsible operation of the Borough. Working with State Legislature for a law limiting allowable annual ncreases of assessed property valuation as well as allowing an increase in property tax exemptions.

b. Control growth of government spending.

3 Public Involvement:

a. Respect citizens addressing or contacting their government officials.

b. Honor the desires of the public especially as expressed on a ballot proposition.

2. How do you view the current relationship between the administration, assembly and the public? If it needs improving, what would you change?

The administration and assembly work well together even though from time to time they differ on issues.

There is a need for improvement between the assembly and the public. On the afternoon prior to the assembly meeting, the assembly committees meet and discuss each issue on the agenda. Frequently the whole assembly attends each committee meeting, thereby constituting a meeting of the full assembly. Citizens are unable to participate in these meetings due to timing i.e. (meetings scheduled during the work day). Many decisions are made based on these afternoon meetings. Citizens attending the official evening Assembly meeting or listening to the paid radio broadcast of the meeting have no idea what may have influenced votes and actions during the official assembly meeting. A needed correction is to have all three committees meet at the same time ( three assembly persons participation in each committee meeting).

3. What do you see as the role of the borough government? If it were too big, what services would you cut?

The role of government is to do the best job possible within the powers designated for a 2nd class borough in a fiscally responsible manner.

There is room for further cuts in all departments starting with the Assembly i.e. Assembly Travel. The assembly needs to say no when programs that should be done by the private sector, i.e. the administrations proposal for $40,000 to produce a book celebrating the 50th anniversary of Statehood. These cuts may not be substantial per department, but as a whole would be note worthy. Contrary to some perceptions General Obligation bonded debt and Public Employee retirement debt obligations cannot be ignored or cut. Additionally some areas cannot be cut due to State or Federal laws. Collective bargaining for public employees is required by State law.

4. If voters approve, ballot initiatives will set term limits on assembly and school board seats and treat terms already served retroactively. What is your opinion of the initiatives and their possible effect?

As an assemblyman I voted against circumventing the ordinance repealing term limits as voted on by the public in 1999. I have no problem with limited terms. However the problem with the term limit ballot proposition before the public this election is making the date of implementation retroactive. I believe this is illegal and will be thrown out by the court. If passed there will be a substantial effect:

a. There will most likely be a lawsuit.

b. It will cheat you of your vote.

If the proposition does pass and the court throws it out I intend, if elected, to introduce a measure that would propose a legal term limit.

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