Osborne: Wants to continue to represent public interest

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2003

After being a regular participant in the past several Kenai City Council elections, John "Ozzie" Osborne finally got his chance to serve this year and is hoping voters will continue to let him do so.

Osborne was appointed in April by the council to fill Duane Bannock's council seat when Bannock was tapped by Gov. Frank Murkowski to head the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Now Osborne is running for re-election against two opponents to finish the last two years of Bannock's term.

"That seat that I was appointed to, I just want to be elected to it and just want to continue on doing what I'm doing," Osborne said.

Osborne, 62, is a machine shop foreman for G and G Machine Shop. He has six kids and has been a Kenai resident for about the last 28 years. He lives here with his wife, Marilyn Wheeless.

He has been a member of the Kenai Planning and Zoning Com-mission, was scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop No. 659 in Nikiski, is the president of the local Pioneers of Alaska group, is on the Peninsula Oilers board of directors and is a member of the Kenai Elks Lodge.

"I feel I'm a good leader," he said. "... I like to listen to people and what they say. I'm (on the council) as a representative of the public and I'd like to continue to represent the people."

In his albeit short tenure on the council, Osborne has seen the city's financial standing improve from what was originally forecast for this fiscal year.

"The way I understand it, finances aren't going to be in as dire straits as they were a year ago, but we still have to be careful," he said.

Osborne said the new Home Depot store should increase the city's sales tax revenues. That will give the city some breathing room, financially, and hopefully avoid forcing the council to consider other revenue increasing measures.

"I would hate to see any more taxes come up," Osborne said, referring to the 1.5 mill rate increase the council approved for this fiscal year. "If things go pretty much the way things are going now, we should be in better shape this next budget time than we're in now."

As for budget cuts, Osborne said he hopes to avoid making any more of those in preparing the budget for next fical year.

"We'll just have to take a better look at that when the time comes," he said. "I would hate to do away with too many services to the public."

Osborne said he is interested in getting the Kenai Recreation Center opened as soon as possible, working toward getting the Kenai Coastal Trail and bluff stabilization project completed, as well at the Bridge Access Road portion of the Unity Trail.

Mainly, though, Osborne is interested in continuing to be a representative of the public.

"They can get a hold of me anytime and talk to me," he said. "Whenever anybody wants to say something, I will listen. Anything that comes my way, I will answer back."

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