Sprague would use experience to guide borough's future

Posted: Monday, September 27, 2004


  Pete Sprague

Pete Sprague

Residence: 188 Farnsworth Blvd., Soldotna, AK 99669

Mail address: Same

Phone: 262-4073

Age: 54

Years in Alaska: 29

Family: N/A

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor's degree in history

Previous elected office: Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly (1998-present), Alaska Municipal League Board second vice president (Nov. 2003-present), Soldotna City Council (1997-Jan. 1999)

Organizations: Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Soldotna Rotary, Kenai Peninsula College Council.

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

Because I have something to offer voters of the district and of the borough. I've worked hard and been responsive, active and involved. I can make a difference and I value that opportunity.

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

The decreasing of the oil and gas reserves is looming large in our future. The revenue impacts and the loss of jobs impacts the bottom line. Continuing to fund education. We need to work to make sure we can maintain quality education. Managing growth and deciding how do we plan for the future.

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

We are getting down to the minimum and I am concerned about that. I was on the committee that set fund-balance policy. It is an issue we will have to address. We should make sure we don't spend money we don't have. We have been spending more than generated in order to spend the fund balance down to a proper level. We may have to explore raising the sales tax cap or the mill rate.

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

We do have the Economic Development District and Community and Economic Development Division working to make a friendly business climate. We have a good quality of life good roads, good schools. Do we explore tax breaks (for industry)? We haven't to this point. But we are a resource extraction state and oil and gas and fishing and tourism are key industries.

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

Years ago we had 50-foot setbacks on the Kenai River. That's been expanded to over 20 waterways. We could do a look-see to determine if there are other waterways that might need that protection as well. Local option zone revisions, that I co-sponsored, promote development. It gives residents more control over what happens in their neighborhoods. The borough is not yet ready for areawide zoning powers.

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

I have mixed feelings on that one. It is good to give residential property owners a tax break. But I'm concerned about bottom line of service area fund balances and that of the borough. The total impact will be almost $1 million. We may be able to offset some of that with more in the way of oil and gas tax revenues if the mill rate increases.

7. Why do you support or oppose Proposition 5 regarding expansion of the fire service area into the Funny River area?

It has to be approved in the existing area and in the new outlying areas. I would support it just to give folks in outlying areas their voice about being included, as well.

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

I'm active and involved in the community, not only on the assembly, but also on organizations and boards at the local, state and national level. I have served the public in one capacity or another for last 20 years. I have a positive outlook. My experience will serve us in good stead.

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