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Price pledges to reign in budget, end deficit spending

Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2004

 

  James Price

James Price

Residence: 49185 Island Lake Road, Nikiski

Mail address: P.O. Box 7043, Nikiski, AK 99635

Phone: 776-3481

Age: 44

Years in Alaska: 16

Family: N/A

Occupation: Commercial Fisher, business owner

Previous elected office: North Peninsula Recreation Service Area (2003-2004).

Organizations: Alaska Voters Organization, Peninsula Citizens Against Private Prisons, Peninsula Citizens Against the Grocery Tax.

1. Why do you want to be on the assembly?

I believe Gary (Superman) is taking us in the wrong direction. We need to get the budget in line. The assembly is going toward higher spending, which will require higher taxes. This is the same problem the state has been having. There has been a lot more money to spend (in the past), but now there is much less, but the borough is having a difficult time restraining their spending.

2. What do you see as the three most important issues facing the assembly, the borough?

Facing Nikiski is the police service area Gary is proposing. This is a really bad idea. There is no other service area like it in Alaska. This is a really serious problem that could cost Nikiski property owners a tremendous amount of money. Second, the ballot initiatives by Nikiski citizens, Propositions 3 and 4, are real important to get control of the unbridled growth the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area is trying to accomplish. Another issue is the borough budget deficit.

3. What place should the borough's fund balance play in borough finances? Is it too large? Too small?

Currently, I think the fund balance is in a good spot, but unfortunately it is being spent at such a rapid rate that it is going to be gone. Up until 2004, I would have said it was too high. Now we are deficit spending and that is not being addressed because of the fund balance. I would rather it not be used and general fund expenditures not increased. We should be focused on what the borough is mandated to do.

4. What should the borough be doing to attract business and industry to the area and create jobs that it isn't already doing?

I think the best thing is to quit deficit spending. There is a real threat that the tax burden will be quite high and our quality of life will diminish because of that higher tax burden.

5. What should the borough be doing to protect the environment that it isn't already doing?

The borough is doing a good job. It doesn't need to expand into it. I'd like to commend the borough for recognizing the problem with the coal-bed methane issue.

6. What is your position on Proposition 1, which would increase the residential real property tax exemption?

It is hard for me to go against any kind of proposition that would lower the tax burden. However, this equation has another side, and that is deficit spending. If we pass a tax relief measure, who will pick up the added tax burden? That has never been answered. Tax relief at a time when we are deficit spending is irresponsible.

7. Why do you support or oppose Proposition 2, the Nikiski Law Enforcement Service Area? Proposition 3, clarifying service area powers? Proposition 4, reducing the cost of capital improvement projects requiring a vote?

I absolutely oppose Proposition 2. It will charge every property owner for what the state already supplies. It creates another level of government. I support Proposition 3. It will put appropriate limits on the recreational service area. It will stop the recreation service area from spending over $1 million in taxpayer funds for the community meeting hall. I also support Proposition 4. The crux of the battle is that the (service area) fund balance is at a maximum level. If the board is kept from spending over $500,000 without a vote, they will have to lower the mill rate.

8. What are three ways you differ from your opponent?

Primarily, I'm trying to create a sustainable future for the citizens that live in the borough in general and in Nikiski in particular. Gary wants to build programs and bureaucracy that will be difficult to maintain in the future. He doesn't recognize that our oil assessments are diminishing. That affects Nikiski greatly. I'm trying to keep growth from occurring because growth of the bureaucracy will create a tax burden.



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