Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey has signed Ordinance 766, which prohibits smoking in Soldotna restaurants.
Following Wednesday's 5-0 vote by the city council, Carey said he was considering a veto of the measure. However, he said Friday afternoon that he'd only been considering a veto because of a technicality.
Carey said he was unsure about the ordinance because existing state law already prohibits smoking in all public buildings, and he did not want the city to be doing the state's job of enforcing the law.
However, after consulting with City Manager Tom Boedeker, Carey said he was convinced the ordinance was the only way to accomplish the council's wishes.
"My take was if the state of Alaska is supposed to be doing this, we should not make the city of Soldotna police enforce this," he said.
Once he understood that the state law is virtually unenforced, Carey said he had no qualms about signing the ordinance.
The ordinance, which bans smoking in any restaurant within city limits, will go into effect March 31. Bars are not subject to the smoking prohibition.
Opposition to the ban was mounted by local business owners, who argued they, not the city, should decide whether to limit smoking in their restaurants.
Between now and March, Carey said he hopes to schedule a work session that will allow city leaders to sit down with local restaurant owners to further address those concerns.
Carey said the purpose of the ban was not to hamper business, only to provide a safe environment for city residents.
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