Ketchikan Borough Election
Prior to serving on the City Council, I was the Borough Mayor for six years and a Borough Assembly Member for five years prior to that. But I have actually been serving Ketchikan in one way or another nearly my entire life!
I would like to continue my service on the City Council because there are several major issues facing the community and I would like to help deal with them.
The two most important - and expensive - issues deal with potential port expansion and improvements to the local water system.
As a life long resident I understand the concerns many people have over the growth of the visitor industry and the changes that growth has brought our town. But as a downtown business owner, I also understand that the $160+ million boost it gives to the local economy is also crucial to our community's well being. We need to take an approach that allows the industry to grow at a reasonable level that meets its needs, but also maintains the Ketchikan that we live with year round. There will have to be some port expansion because of the increasing ship size, but our finances are limited and we need to consider the effects that 3,000 to 5,000 additional passengers will have and what we can reasonably handle. Unrestrained growth in any industry is neither sustainable or desirable. I believe my past experience shows that I capable of working with diverse interests and charting a path that improves Ketchikan without irreparably harming it.
The other issue deals with areas of Ketchikan infrastructure such as the water system. We have for sometime been under increasing federal scrutiny because the EPA believes our water sources need treatment. We had a serious outbreak of Giardia about 30 years ago and we have been on the regulators radar for many years. While this is clearly irritating because we feel our water is some of the best in the world, we also have to realize that some fights are not winnable. If as a community we had decided to put in a filtration plant 35 years ago, it would have cost a bit more than $10 million and it would be paid for by now. But we chose instead to slap band aids on the existing system. Now we appear to finally be out of band aids and we are looking at spending $30 million to $50 million dollars that will have to be paid off by our grandkids. I have always advocated that we deal with our infrastructure issues as quickly as we can, rather than kicking the problem down the road. Yes, it is painful to spend the money, but it only gets more expensive the longer you wait. It's like putting off maintenance on your car until it totally breaks down and you have to buy a new one.
There are many other issues, big and small, that face city residents and its government. But my goal will always be to work to provide the level of desired city services equal to level of costs (taxes). The minute that those things are not equal, then changes need to be made because the city government must always reflect the needs of the people.
I would appreciate your vote on October 3 and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve you!
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