Stein brings background of involvement to council
Incumbent Jane Stein brought experience from her involvement in various community groups to the Soldotna City Council when she was appointed to seat D in 1998 to fill a vacated position. She was elected to a three-year term in October of 1998 and served one year on the planning and zoning committee in 1997.
"I think we should be looking and listening to the community to see ways to further the economics of the area, looking in to things to make it aesthetically a better place to live, watching very carefully as the public dollars are spent, working with the staff we have, and listening to the people and putting these things into action," Stein said.
Stein is in favor of the bond issue which would raise $3.5 million to build the proposed $7 million events center in Soldotna, as long as it goes to a public vote and meets other set guidelines. Stein believes that although the city may subsidize the center's budget, the center will bring money to the community. But other sources of funding need to be sought before the bond is approved, she said.
Stein feels the best way to handle the issue of Soldotna business signs built on the Department of Transportation's right-of-way is for the DOT, the city and the businesses to meet and work out an agreement which is tolerable to all. The aesthetic quality the signs and frontages provide to the roadside and the informational importance those signs play need to be considered, Stein said.
"I hope the DOT will listen to all of us and our concerns," Stein said. "I want something to be worked out to the best interest of everyone involved."
Stein supports the construction of a new bridge spanning the Kenai River and believes it should be located at Poppy Lane and West Redoubt Avenue in Soldotna because there is already a stop light there, it would make Kenai Peninsula College more accessible, it would help connect K-Beach residents to schools and Soldotna businesses, it would aid Soldotna businesses and it would help with traffic congestion.
Stein has lived in Soldotna since 1989. She is a retired vocational education and home economics teacher. She does presentations in the schools on healthy communities, volunteerism and fetal alcohol syndrome and is involved in Healthy Communities- Healthy People, Christ Lutheran Church, Sharing the Spirit, Central Area Rural Transit System and Kenai Peninsula United Way. She is president of the board of directors of Bridges Community Resource Network.
"I really feel I have a diverse background working with different agencies and organizations in the community and seeing how they are interrelated," she said. "It's exciting to see what's being done and what can be done in the community."
Sturman wants to lower taxes, increase business
Fred Sturman, running against Jane Stein for Soldotna City Council seat D, is a longtime Soldotna resident who thinks the city needs to spend less money and cut back taxes.
Sturman, who describes himself as very conservative, has run for the city council in the past. He has lived in Soldotna since 1965 and has laid water and sewer lines, worked in the oil industry, helped build Wildwood Correctional Center and has worked as a contractor, road builder and commercial fisher.
"I'm to the point where I'd rather enjoy myself, but I just keep seeing government grow and grow and grow and the and private sector become less and less and less and I just thought I'd try it one more time," Sturman said.
Sturman believes if you don't have the money, you don't spend it. As such he is against taking out a bond to build the proposed events center -- especially since the center would operate at a loss for at least a few years, if not forever, he said.
Sturman does agree that Soldotna needs another bridge over the Kenai River. Ideally he thinks it should be built in Sterling and include a bypass, although he wouldn't resist the bridge being built in Soldotna.
"Both bridges would be perfect," he said. "I wouldn't be opposed to either one of them, but it's a pretty expensive bridge. For the money they're going to put in the bridge, it could build a lot of roads."
As for the business signs built on the Department of Transportation's right-of-way, Sturman feels the city should make things more business-friendly in Soldotna in general and would be against the businesses losing their signs.
Sturman believes that the city's sales tax should be cut to 2.5 percent rather than 3 percent to thank people for shopping in Soldotna and to encourage more shoppers to come, he said. According to Sturman, out of the city's 3 percent tax, 2 percent goes to operations and 1 percent goes to capital projects. Sturman would cut the capital projects allowance to 0.5 percent.
Sturman would also like to cut the property tax to zero or as close to zero as possible. Doing this would reward the residents who pay the brunt of the taxes and encourage more businesses to come to town, he said. Sturman believes Soldotna needs more private sector jobs in town. Lowering the sales tax and property tax would be encourage businesses to come to town, he said.
"If you have a city council where everybody is along the same line, that's not good," said M.J. Harris, a Soldotna resident who has known Sturman for around 30 years. "You need somebody in there that raises some 'h,' so to speak. And he's honest, no doubt about that. He would definitely watch out for the taxpayer's money."
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