Borough finances are healthy now, thanks to the good fiscal management of a praiseworthy department of finance, but that may not last in a struggling state economy, said assembly member Milli Martin of Diamond Ridge, who is seeking another three-year term as the representative of the South Peninsula district.
"I hope (in three years) we are still as financially healthy as we are today and stay at the 6.5 mill property tax levy," she said in an interview Sept. 9. "I hope we survive the financial situation with the state."
Martin said she also hopes the borough's 2 percent sales tax remains intact that is, not negatively affected by moves made by state lawmakers who are considering a statewide sales tax as one option for relieving fiscal problems at the state level.
Such a tax added atop municipal sales taxes could have an impact on sales in the borough, thus affecting the local sales tax revenue streams of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and its cities, which also depend on local sales tax levies.
She said she believes each assembly member must take an active roll with the Legislature to ensure borough interests are adequately represented.
Martin said she would like to see the borough have "a little more of a handle on roads," noting that the borough still faces the problems of accepting roads for borough maintenance that were not built to borough standards.
"These will have to be improved," she said. "That's a formidable task."
Roads are at the top of her priority list and have been for some time, she said. Last year, Martin sponsored an ordinance to stiffen subdivision road standards that passed by a narrow margin. Subsequently, Mayor Dale Bagley vetoed the measure.
"I've been working with the mayor since then to develop regulations," Martin said. "We're still working on it."
Zoning is another issue she said needs to be discussed.
"It's something people don't want to hear, but we are seeing conflicts between land users and private property owners. People have to be willing to see some changes there and I think we are getting closer to that," she said.
Looking at the borough government, Martin said the borough's finance department lost a lot when Finance Director Jeff Sinz left for a job in Anchorage.
But operating criteria he helped establish should allow the borough to continue functioning smoothly, she said.
"I think the department is working top notch," she said.
She also praised the planning and assessing departments.
Martin said she has enjoyed her first three years on the assembly, saying it had given her the opportunity to meet people she might never have met and the chance to learn new things.
"I feel like we are in a time of transition," she said. "I feel like a voice for District 9 is needed, and I can provide that. I have the time to give. The first three years were very much a learning experience."
Martin, 66, was elected to the assembly in 2000. Redistricting required her to run again last year for a one-year term. She is running again for a three-year term and is unopposed.
Martin first moved to Alaska in 1966 and remained until 1970. She returned again in 1975 and has lived here ever since. She has two grown children. She has an associate of arts degree.
Prior to her stint on the assembly, Martin served on the Kenai Peninsula Board of Education from 1982 to 1985 and from 1986 to 1989. She served on the Kachemak Bay Advisory Planning Commis-sion from 1996 to 2000.
She is a member of Rotary, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and the Homer and Anchor Point senior citizen organizations.
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