Williams: Prop. 4 could jeopardize timely improvements

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2005

Residence: 306 Candlelight Drive, Kenai, AK 99611

Mail address: P.O. Box 459, Kenai, AK 99611

Contacts: 283-3104, 283-4960

Age: 66

Years in the borough: 38

Family: Wife, Sharon, four children and seven grandchildren

Occupation: Property manager

Education: High school graduate, five-year apprenticeship, college credits from RIT, University of Texas and University of Alaska

Previous elected office: Mayor of Kenai for 18 years, several committees and commissions

Organizations: Elks Lodge, Chamber of Commerce, Moose Lodge

1. Do you support Proposition 4 and 5? Why?

Proposition 4: I am opposed to this proposition primarily because of the 60 percent issue. Should it be implemented, most of the major road projects needed in the borough would not be constructed. Major repairs to buildings in the event of fire or flood would have to wait for voter approval. I am afraid that progress in the borough will be curtailed and our future growth would be in jeopardy.

Proposition 5: I am not in favor of this proposition. Passing the issue will create a nearly $7 million dollar gap in the budget. Next year, with increased PERS/TRS costs, that gap could be as high as $8 million. Gutting borough government will not work. Even large cuts in the already slim operating budget will force property tax increases on the people. I will follow the mandates of the people and will seek major cuts to government if demanded by the voters.

2. Do you support Propositions 1, 2 and 3? Why?

Proposition 1: I am in favor of the Transient Accommodations Tax. Some of the money will be used to promote tourism on the peninsula. I have always felt that tourism development costs should be paid for from a tourism tax and not from borough property tax.

Proposition 2: I do not live in the Central Emergency Service Area and only only those in the CES area will vote the matter on.

Proposition 3: I support the concept of the bridge. If the voters approve asking the state to build the bridge, I will work with all parties to insure that a safe, environmentally sound, and properly located bridge is planned. There are other major economic issues to deal with. More EIS reports, the cost of the bridge approaches on both sides, arterial upgrades and the issue of long-term maintenance and who will be responsible for these costs.

3. Should the borough consider assuming new or expanding existing powers? Why?

(Editor’s note: No answer provided)

4. What actions would you recommend if faced with declining borough revenues, increased expenses and a fund balance that is near its recommended lower limit?

Upon taking office, I will place a freeze on all hiring, allow attrition to subtract less-than-essential positions, and call for a complete management review. All departments will be compared for duplication and adjustments made. Incremental cuts in operating expenses will be examined and implemented where necessary. I look forward to working with department heads and the assembly in dealing with the budget shortfalls. In the end, I will seek a balanced budget that will protect essential services and the education of our children.

5. What makes you the best candidate for the job?

I am the best candidate for the position of borough mayor because I have the background and experience to do the job. I have 18 years as an elected official in local government. I have a vast background in finance management both in the private and public sectors. I have been an educator. I was an early player in the oil and gas industry dating back to 1968 here on the peninsula when I worked as a steamfitter/automation tech. Then I was an instructor in petroleum technology and automation at the college for 17 years. I have worked with much of the industry over the years to solve problems and will continue to do so. I can be effective in advocating for the construction of a gas line to Cook Inlet as I have been for nearly 20 years. In the private sector, I operated businesses across the peninsula including Seward, Soldotna and Kenai.

6. Describe the Kenai Peninsula Borough as you would like to see it 25 years from now. If elected mayor, what will you do to make that vision a reality?

I envision the gas pipeline being constructed in the not-to-distant future, which will open new doors for industry and our people. Statistical data also tells us that we will triple the number of seniors living on the peninsula. I would hope that we will continue to develop our medical infrastructure that will be needed for support of not only seniors, but or valued veterans as well. All indications are that people from other areas will be moving there as weather changes continue and as our economics come more into line with other areas.

We must restructure our government and continue to diversify into other areas of the economy. Tourism will continue to grow as well the peninsula’s reputation as a summer home for many who travel in the winter months. I would like our education system to develop young peoples’ futures into those areas that can be of service to our communities.

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