Proposition 3: No frill, improvements needed

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Proposition 3: General Obligation Bonds

This measure asks voters if the Kenai Peninsula Borough should borrow up to $5 million through the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance a portion of expanding and improving the Borough Building.

Although some voters see any capital improvement project as a frill, the borough and school district offices are in dire need of more and safer space. Under the current conditions, it's amazing the borough and school district function as well as they do.

We encourage a "Yes" vote on the proposition.

In June 1998, a space allocation committee recommended "the immediate lease or construction of additional office space to cure the overcrowding and to address health and safety issues found to be present in the building," according to a ballot summary on the proposition. Although the assembly adopted the report, it failed to act on the committee's recommendation.

Last year, the space allocation committee was reinstated to review the issue anew. The committee found that conditions at the Borough Building had worsened and continue to "create a health and safety risk to borough staff and the public." The committee found significant violations of fire and safety codes.

How can citizens expect efficient government if they fail to provide public employees the tools and space they need to adequately do their jobs? At a minimum, public employees should be able to expect safe working conditions. As much as anything, Proposition 2 is a health and safety issue -- for both borough employees and the public.

We are in complete agreement with the space allocation committee's conclusion "... that the situation has reached a critical stage and can no longer be ignored."

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