Borough Assembly District 2; Navarre: Borough should do more to attract businesses

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Experience counts when serving the public in elected office, said Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Tim Navarre, the incumbent candidate for assembly District 2, who has been on the assembly since 1993.

"I believe I took this job, got educated and informed, listened to people, and I believe I've shown I can do the job and have done the job," he said.

"I've shown I can work with officials at the federal, state and local level. It is important to work together, not against each other. I'm willing to continue to give of my time because the reward is what you give to the people of the borough."

Navarre faces a challenge from assembly member Betty Glick. Glick was appointed in July to serve until the election in the seat vacated by former assembly member Bill Popp, who resigned to take a job with the borough. Glick, too, has years of experience on the assembly.

"Everybody brings their different expertise and ability to the job," Navarre said.

"Some public service jobs are multifaceted. I believe I have a lot of the tools people are looking for. I'm young, energetic and ready to go to work."

Navarre said the borough has to be "more proactive" in its efforts to attract new business, such as advertising in publications Outside.

"We need to let them know we are open for business and what we have to offer," he said.

Anchorage, he said, is talking about granting one developer a 10-year exemption on property taxes. That kind of approach only points out the competitive arena in which the borough must compete if it is to lure industry and businesses to the peninsula.

"You have to look at economic development as if you are competing with everybody," Navarre said.

The borough should examine what other communities are doing. In some cases, the borough might lead the way with some innovation, but there's nothing wrong with copying good ideas, he said.

An existing borough ordinance allows the assembly to grant tax relief for up to five years on significantly large developments. Navarre said he isn't opposed to looking into using tax incentives more broadly.

"You have to work with the developers and the project. Hopefully, the borough knows its limitations and what is fair and equitable to everybody."

Navarre said he believes the assembly has been responsive to the public. He pointed to the growing number of utility and road improvement districts and the borough's efforts on behalf of service areas.

He said there was no doubt a statewide sales tax could cause problems for municipalities dependent on revenues generated by there own sales tax levies. However, he would avoid the appearance of doing battle with the state over the issue. The state faces serious financial problems, he said.

"I wouldn't say fight (a sales tax)," he said. "I've always said you have to come to the table and be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Navarre asks whether anything gets accomplished if the state adopts something good for the state but bad for the boroughs. On the other hand, the borough cannot expect the state not to act to bridge its fiscal gap.

"If the state doesn't deal with its problem, then where are the municipalities?" he said.

"We all have to be part of the solution."

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