Run-off: Soldotna clerk seeks voters

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2007

The city clerk in Soldotna was drumming Wednesday night for residents to come out and vote in next week's run-off election to determine who will replace Councilwoman Jane Stein.

"We have 2,974 registered voters," said Teresa Fahning during the Soldotna City Council meeting. "I encourage them to vote next Tuesday."

The run-off election was necessitated because none of the five candidates running for Stein's council seat received 40 percent of the vote as required by city code.

During the regular election, Peter Micciche received 243 votes representing 38.09 percent of the vote and Linda Murphy received 147 votes or 22.73 percent. Both candidates attended a portion of Wednesday's council meeting.

Soldotna City Hall will be the only polling place open during Tuesday's run-off election. Votes may also be cast by absentee ballot.

Wednesday night's council meeting began with Mayor Dave Carey administering the oath of office to Ed Sleater and Shane Horan, councilmen who ran unopposed in the Oct. 2 municipal election.

During a public presentation portion of the meeting, Jim Fassler, co-chair of the Memorial Park Task Force, reported on the recent visit the group made to several potential sites for a city cemetery.

He said one property a 10.92-acre parcel across the Sterling Highway from the Alaska Division of Forestry office was removed from the list following its mention in a Peninsula Clarion news article.

"When the news article came out, someone put down earnest money on it," Fassler said. "Apparently they did not want a memorial park on the property."

Fassler said the consensus of the group is that a 10-acre, city-owned parcel at the end of Riverwatch Drive is the preferred choice, though no decision has been made.

The task force will meet again Thursday to discuss the options, and then report back to the city council.

With state Rep. Mike Chenault in attendance, the council unanimously approved a resolution outlining priority capital improvement projects the city would like the state legislature to consider.

Chief among the wish list items is creating an emergency access route from the Kenai Spur Highway to Mackey Lakes Road and eventually to the Sterling Highway to provide an alternate in the event an emergency occurred at the Soldotna "Y" closing that sole thruway in and out of the city.

Also on the list is the widening of the Sterling Highway from the Fred Meyer store to the city limit at Boundary Street.

City Manager Tom Boedeker said that stretch of highway "has the highest traffic count in the area."

He said some would argue the highway needs to be widened farther out, but his recommendation stops at the limit of Soldotna's jurisdiction.

The city also would like the state to install a traffic signal on the Sterling Highway at Birch Street.

"As we have more large events in Soldotna Creek Park, we need a traffic light to get people across (the highway) safely," he said.

At the suggestion of Boedeker, the council postponed action on a proposed ordinance overhauling the city's Special Assessment District procedures and placed a moratorium on SAD petition filings for up to 45 days so no applications will be considered pending the overhaul.

He asked for the postponement because a draft version of the new rules was inadvertently included in Wednesday's council agenda packet, rather than the final form slated for consideration.

In other business, the council approved a $100,000 appropriation for the conceptual design of the planned public library expansion. Other appropriations approved were $350,000 to connect a second water well to the city's well house C, and $275,000 for the fourth phase of a sewer main extension along Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The council also scheduled work sessions to discuss a strategy for replacing Boedeker who retires next fall, and to discuss the Planning Commission's role in the city's project planning process. The work sessions are to be Nov. 3 and Nov. 28 respectively.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.

Boedeker had said earlier, the old rules were cumbersome and unnecessarily time consuming. The new ordinance streamlines the process.



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