Fischer: Borough's on right track; he'll keep it that way

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2004


  Paul Fischer

Paul Fischer

Residence: Mile 107 Sterling Highway, Kasilof

Mail address: P.O. Box 889, Kasilof, AK 99610

Phone: 262-9269

Age: 68

Years in Alaska: 33

Family: Married, nine children

Occupation: Self-employed

Education: Bachelor's of science, master's of education, qualified as a school superintendent

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

The assembly has done a lot of improvements, but I'm still a critic of afternoon meetings (work sessions). People who work cannot attend. I'd like to change that and do all our work in the evenings. We've also done a good job in education. I think our schools are the best in the state. On taxes, I want to make sure that the full $20,000 (property tax) exemption is implemented (if approved by voters Oct. 5). We've done a good job on roads, but can do a better job. My experience as an assembly member and state senator counts.

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

One is to keep our fiscal policy on target and to keep a sufficient fund balance. Another is to thoroughly scrutinize spending requests. We also have to make sure we take care of education.

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

It's too large. We get into this mentality of the bigger the better. Property owners are bearing the brunt of taxation. I don't know what the exact amount should be, but it shouldn't be zero. We shouldn't have to borrow.

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

Need to come up with a list of what our assets are. Then put out a brochure, like South Carolina does. Let industry know what we have instead of sitting back and hoping something happens. We must protect existing businesses and seek businesses that would not be in direct competition. We don't need to be funding two economic development agencies.

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

As second-class borough, we have to watch what we do. As situations develop we can address things. Proposals need to be specific. There are concerns about gravel pits and their effect on ground water. That's something the borough needs to watch. There may be more work needed in that area.

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

We were told the borough doesn't have to give the whole $20,000. But if we are going to the trouble of putting it on the ballot, we should give (voters) the whole $20,000 (exemption). I believe the proposition will be approved.

7. Why do you support or oppose Proposition 6 regarding expansion of the fire service area into Kasilof-Cohoe-Clam Gulch?

I could go either way. The residents will decide. The idea was sold with the idea a fire station would be built across from Tustumena Elementary School. But that won't be built for the next several years. Distances (from existing fire stations) are pretty substantial.

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

I don't know that much about Mark (Osterman), but personally we are friends. He's new to the area. I intend to stay here. I have experience in government. You can't be a bull in china shop. I can work with people. I'm running because I don't have an ax to grind. He is opposed to the expansion of the fire service area.

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