Ken Lancaster, Borough Mayor
As mayor, I look forward to having one-on-one discussions with the department heads and then collectively seeing how our visions for the borough match up!
I believe we need to work together with the incorporated municipalities and the unincorporated communities to maintain our respective quality of life to our own areas and encourage private enterprise to establish and grow, as the case may be. We need to strive always to provide the most quality education to our children. We need to take care of providing opportunities for employment after education. At the same time, we need to care for our senior citizens who have shown the way (this obviously includes our veteran population).
The mayor has to work together with the department heads to bring to the assembly a responsive and affordable budget and work with them for its approval. It must be presented to the residents of the entire borough population for their input and discussion.
All of the above comes with a price tag, and we have to grow and maintain our tax base for income. We must have a responsible investment strategy that is secure and brings us the best return possible.
The borough is fortunate to have the oil and gas industry with related resources. We also have commercial fishing, sport fishing, as well as subsistence fishing for meat. The fishing industry provides a way of life and a quality of life to residents and something tourists expect. We have to work together to maintain this.
I believe we can do more to promote development and growth in the borough, similar to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company moving in with new technology industries. We do not want to forget development of our heritage and cultural assets that need to be preserved. We need to build upon and showcase it for the residents and visitors.
There is a growing and needed medical community in the borough that needs to be nurtured and built upon. We need to share and partner resources, access and deliverability (affordable) so that residents do not have to travel outside our borough for diagnosis and treatment.
The emergency services and fire protection areas, as well as disaster preparedness, is ever changing and growing. Residents expect deliverability and service. The bark beetle has brought heightened awareness of fire, and we need to do all we can to work together sharing resources, labor and equipment to provide 24-7 coverage boroughwide!
We need to continue to work more together throughout the borough by partnership and sharing resources so as to provide the best coverage possible at an affordable price.
I look forward to working with the assembly and the residents on all issues affecting this borough. In closing, I will be a mayor who rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done. I will be involved with every community, as well as with what goes on in our state and national capital.
Please vote Lancaster on Oct. 1. Thank you.
Dale Bagley, Borough Mayor
Three years ago when I was first elected borough mayor everyone was concerned with Y2K issues. We made it past the year 2000 with minimum disturbance. Since then, we have a new president, we lived through the uncertainty of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., and we are still weathering the ups and downs of the stock market. Through it all the Kenai Peninsula has continued to grow at a rate of 3 percent a year. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is in great financial shape and the economy is doing great. The Kenai Peninsula's diversified economy is one of our greatest strengths.
The oil and gas industry continues to be our number one industry. However, there are some dark clouds on the horizon as the regulatory process continues to slow new development, and we are running out of natural gas in the Southcentral area.
Tourism still had a decent year in spite of the terrorist attacks and the poor king salmon run in June. I'm confident it will bounce back even stronger next year.
The commercial fishing industry still continues to suffer, but, hopefully, a marketing program called "Kenai Wild" will help improve the price per pound of Cook Inlet salmon. The marketing program emphasizes quality control and markets the uniqueness of our wild salmon stocks. This program will not only help the commercial fishing industry, but will help market Cook Inlet salmon for tourism as well.
Each year during the last three years, I have been at the Home Show, the Sport Trade and Rec Show, the Kenai Fourth of July, Soldotna Progress Days, the Ninilchik Fair and Industry Days. We have had the Mayor's Brown Bag lunch, budget workshops for the public, and I participated in many activities around the borough. I have visited with many people in my office and returned many phone calls. Because of the many issues that have been brought to my attention, we were able to accomplish much during the last three years.
We have accomplished a large land sale in Cooper Landing, successfully started a borough logging program, increased the money to the road department without raising taxes, began a road-debris cleanup program, began an abandoned-junk vehicle program, started the "Kenai Wild" program, are currently working on a bid for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, increased funding to all senior citizen programs, changed property tax payments to coincide with the dividend payout, reduced penalties and interest on late tax payments, multiple lot owners now receive one tax statement, increased money to school capital improvement projects, increased funding to our local schools, successfully negotiated a new contract with borough employees, successfully negotiated a new contract with Central Peninsula General Hospital, and best of all we reduced the mill rate.
On Oct. 1, there will be an election to determine who will be the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor. If I am re-elected I will do my best to be available for the public and continue to improve the way the borough operates. These first three years were an incredible and unforgettable experience. Instead of complaining about the government, I got the opportunity to listen to the public and make changes in the way the borough operates. Thank you for that opportunity.
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