Name: Ed Sleater
Family: Wife, Sharon; 3 children; 6 grandchildren
Education: BA Central Washington State College
Organizations and special interests: Secretary of the Soldotna Lions Club, member of Loyal Order of Moose and Peninsula Oilers board of directors
Previously held elected office: Soldotna City Council
1. How much residential development should the city allow in the commercial district? Should the high-value commercial district be preserved for businesses?
In the past a loosely controlled mix of commercial and residential zoning was entirely appropriate in keeping with a healthy respect for the land owners property rights. However as development takes place along our major arterials and especially along the banks of The Kenai River we need to recognize that more stringent controls may be needed to protect our most important asset, the river. Planning and zoning with good and ample public and business involvement will avoid hodge-podge development and still protect property owners rights.
2. What can be done to expedite building a city cemetery? Should the city manager be given a firm deadline to start building it?
Putting a deadline on the selection of a cemetery site will do little other than make the process hit-or-miss. If/when that deadline is reached and no decision has been made, reason sometimes gets sacrificed for the sake of meeting the deadline! Granted, Soldotna needs a cemetery but that cemetery is a going to be a forever establishment and patience with broad public involvement is the only way we will get the right choice of the right site. Not deadlines.
3. What can Soldotna do to get the Kenai River off the impaired water body list? Is enough being done already?
Along with Councilman Horan and representatives of the Kenai City Council and the Borough I have been taking part in a working group to address this concern. The problem has been identified. The source of the problem has been identified and a "cure" has been proposed. Now all three parties involved in that working group, The City of Soldotna, The City of Kenai and the Borough need to work towards two things: Making the cure both fair and equitable and convincing the appropriate state agencies to act. The latter being the most crucial simply because the State has the final say in the matter.
4. How can the city ensure Birch Ridge Golf Course is not sold to a developer? Should it be zoned recreational or be restricted to some similar use; should the city purchase it?
At present the golf course is a privately owned and operated enterprise. A business. It, the land there, is zoned rural residential. The owner of the business, the owner of the land, whoever is or may turn out to be has the right to use that site as they see fit within existing zoning rules and regulations. Purchase of the course by the City and making it a "municipal" golf course does not change the fact that it is a business. In my opinion the City has no business owning and operating a business. If the present owner/operator wants to sell and finds a willing buyer, hooray for them both. If the buyer finds that there is more value in converting the site to something other than a golf course, so be it. That may be what the market dictates. But, the City needs to stick running the City.
5. Should property taxes or sales taxes be raised to pay for public servants' pensions under PERS? What other solutions to the PERS unfunded liability situation should the city explore?
By creating another tier of employees which radically changed the system in both contributions and benefits, over time the system is supposed to be able to "right" itself. Since this is a statewide problem and State government is the major entity involved, the only reasonable place to look for additional funds in the short term is the State.
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