SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Asking for your vote October 5th
By Sam Bergeron


September 21, 2010

I'm in the race for council because we need people in there that know the value of a dollar and where those dollars come from.

The current council just gave Karl Amylon a raise to $170,000.00 a year plus benefits. That was a raise from $150,400.00, or a 12 % raise during the longest and deepest recession since the stock market crash of 1929 and the great depression. To put into perspective how much we pay the manager, he makes more money than 45 American state governors and more than every member of congress ($165,200.00) and $45.000.00 more than our own governor Sean Parnell. That's crazy. All while we are asking the rest of the City and KPU employees to hold the line on pay increases and benefits. So much for setting the example of austerity for the employees! Needless to say I would've opposed the pay increase for Karl.

Today on the news we heard that there are a record number and percentage of Americans living in poverty. That trend is happening here as well. We have so many of our friends and neighbors struggling to make rent, food and lights. The reality is that some of the people we serve are struggling never leaves me and every decision I've made at the council, Borough Assembly and all the other boards I've served on; that thought is always with me. The function of government is to spend the money it takes in very wisely and to budget carefully. Being careful not to over-budget and don't base your taxes and utility rates on an inflated budget and charge those we serve more than they actually needed to fund government.

That's exactly what we do year in and year out. We manage to put away millions of dollars of your unspent taxes and fees and bank it. They save your money for you. The city has about 29.4 Million in reserves. It's time to spend those reserves down and give the taxpayers a break. This year's budget calls for spending down our reserves and I will support that. Another thing we need to do is find the fat in this year's budget. If you want to find out where some of the fat is ask the guys doing the work. They can tell you where to find and root out the wasteful spending and I intend to do that. It helps when the people in the field you're talking to know, respect and trust you. I bring that to the table.

It has always been my dream that we have a working relationship between the City and Borough Governments that benefits us all. It's time we find ways to work together in planning, capital projects and policies that make our lives better and less expensive. As a past Borough Assembly member and current Planning Commissioner, I have a great affinity for my counterparts at the Borough and I want to raise the cooperation and fairness in all our dealing to new heights and I intend to do that.

We charge sales tax on residential rent, food and heating oil. I find those taxes to be particularly harmful to those who can least afford to pay them. I favor eliminating the sales tax on heating oil and looking into a sales tax vacation/reduction to stimulate the local economy. Let's reduce sales tax by _ to one percent in the winter and use some reserves to fund it. Sales tax is a disincentive to shop locally and this would stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

We base property taxes on two things: Property Tax rate (millage rate) and the tax assessed value. For many years the assessments have gone up (about 33% in the past 10 years). Past councils have patted themselves on the back for keeping the millage rate the same while your assessments have gone up. I will not support any real tax hikes in millage or assessments that mean a tax hike for property owners; period.

Every job in this economy supports our schools and businesses and every dollar paid in taxes is a sacrifice. I have worked in the private sector most of my life and I understand how hard it is to make it. I bring the perspective of a small business owner and of a working man to the table and of one who hates waste and abuse. I need your support in this election and I'm asking you for your vote this October 5. You don't need to know all the issues all the time, but you do need to know who to trust.

Thanks for listening.

Sam Bergeron
Ketchikan, AK


Received September 17, 2010 - Published September 21, 2010



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