Bagley still has more to accomplish as borough mayor

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley says a lot has been accomplished in his first term, but unfinished business remains, and he wants another term to pursue those goals.

"We've quietly and professionally run the borough for the last three years," he said. "We've done a lot of good things. The salmon-branding program would be No. 1, but we've done a lot of little things to make the borough run better. We got some land out there into public hands, improved some roads. I did what I said I was going to do."

The work isn't done, however, Bagley said.

"I want to get more land out to the public. I want a better government, economic development and better roads," he said. "That's what I campaigned on the first time and that's what I'll work on this time. My emphasis will be on better government."

He said inefficiencies need attention, such as the flow of paperwork. For instance, he said standardized contracts shouldn't have to go to the Legal Department every time, he said.

"I want to make government work more efficiently. But there's a caveat. There are some things we are never going to be able to do. Government can't work like a private corporation. We will never run as efficiently as private enterprise."

Bagley also said an administrative assistant position is needed in the planning department.

Luring new industry to the borough is an important goal, he said, but the peninsula economy will depend on the future availability of natural gas. If that supply dwindles in 10 to 15 years, the borough economy will suffer.

"We have got to have it," he said, adding he supports construction of a pipeline from the North Slope as well as continued exploration in the Cook Inlet Region.

The borough has an ordinance that provides for property tax incentives for new industry. But there are reasons beyond the tax environment that keep many industries away, such as the cost of shipping from Alaska as opposed to locations in the Lower 48, he said.

"Things pretty much have to be right," Bagley said. "I don't mind helping out, but I don't think we need to be too aggressive. Either a business is going to fit here or it's not."

Bagley said he is opposed to a statewide sales tax. Concern that the state might impose one has held up overdue revisions to the borough's own sales tax code, he said.

He said he might propose a seasonal sales tax of 4 percent for the summer season and zero during the winter. It could bring in about $1 million a year more than the current 2 percent sales tax, he said.

He said he believes the administration has been responsive to the public, and that he has had a generally good relationship with the assembly.

Bagley, 39, lives in Soldotna and has been a resident of Alaska all his life. He has served on the Soldotna City Council and the borough assembly.

Bagley's lone challenger is Rep. Ken Lancaster, R-Soldotna, who will leave the Alaska House later this year.



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