Occupation: Service Center Manager, Lynden Transport
Business and professional organizations and other interests: Kenai Watershed Forum; Alaska Support Industry Alliance, Kenai Peninsula Chapter Vice President; Kenai Chamber of Commerce, Vice President
Previous political experience: N/A
As the City of Soldotna develops it will be BECAUSE small businesses are viable and thriving. As the governing body of the city, we must ensure that we don't inhibit business that we have from growing, and ensure that we are a welcoming town for potential new enterprise. The City Council must always be a help, not a hindrance to business in the city. We must not pass any ordinance that puts undue burden on existing or new business. We must always ensure our sales tax and mil rate are appropriate.
My profession allows me a unique perspective on this issue. Highway safety is something I deal with on daily basis, and is a very high priority. The David Douthit Veterans' Memorial Bridge allows for greater flow through the city, coupled with the improved K-Beach interchange. The State budget has funds allocated for improving the Funny River portion of the intersection that will also help with safety. Our representatives in Juneau are doing a good job keeping our safety in mind and we must continue to encourage their persistence.
Parking Lot regulations currently require excessive amount of parking. Any new business that builds in town will have to create more parking than what may be required. This causes us to destroy natural occurring vegetation and scenery. This vegetation not only adds to the beautification of the city, but these are natural filters for water making its way to the Kenai River. Large parking lots lead to larger snow piles and larger puddles during breakup.
Managing sales tax expectations and the correlating budgetary ramifications. We will have another year of sales tax data to analyze and ensure that we keep the city budget in line with actual revenue. The City administration and current council has done a great job, we need to continue that critical thinking and realistic expectations.
Envision Soldotna 2030 is a great start and a great tool for the city. Not only to give our citizens and City Employees vision and direction, but a tool to use for perspective business and residents. As we work towards the year 2030, we can evaluate, debate, and comment on the individual items, but overall it is a fantastic start.
The council must address this in two areas. First we must understand our population base, and account for them in our decisions. We need make sure that we have adequate access to our city properties and parks, including handicap and special needs parking.
Second we need to bring more young families to the city. We need to have competitive tax rates so first time home buyers and young families can afford property in Soldotna. Providing a safe and well maintained city that is welcoming to children and their parents. But most importantly, providing a city that pro business will bring younger residents. Prospective residents must be confident that all of their needs and wants will be met in the city.
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