Tom Bearup: Borough poised for optimistic future
I have had experiences throughout my life, in business, government and as former mayor of the city of Soldotna that put me in the unique position of being able to relate to the needs of Kenai Peninsula residents of all backgrounds and I want to be your next borough mayor.
The borough is poised for a very optimistic future. The oil and gas, fishing, tourism and health care industries are the mainstays of the borough economy. It is time to entice new industry to the KPB to foster additional growth. The Kenai Peninsula Borough has the available infrastructure to attract technology, software development and clean manufacturing business to our “Alaskan Riviera.”
Enhancement of our growing agriculture industry is important. High tunnel agriculture, peony farming and general agriculture have the ability to thrive in our extended Alaska growing season. I will encourage outreach to industry and make the KPB a welcome environment for competitive industries and professional workers.
To achieve these optimistic goals we need to be respectful of all residents, their points of view and differing opinions on issues affecting our community.
The Kalifornsky Beach Road area residents need understanding and action, not political rhetoric that defers solutions to their problems.
Our senior citizens need to be respected for their contributions to our borough and no longer the target of attempted tax increases. We must stop accusing seniors for excess use of borough services and budget shortfalls, as happened in the recent attempt to eliminate the residential property exemption to seniors.
Senior citizens are a major driving economic force in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, according to the state of Alaska. An Alaska Commission on Aging report shows that senior citizens contribute approximately $2.62 billion dollars annually to the Alaskan economy. The Kenai Peninsula Borough must understand and respect their contribution.
Respect and protection of individual rights and property rights must be a basic tenet of borough government. I pledge to protect those rights and review ordinances such as the “anadromous stream ordinance” to assure that the rights of property owners are respected and restored.
Accountability to the residents of the Kenai Peninsula will be of paramount importance to my administration, not just at election time, but every day. It is the responsibility of all borough employees to be responsive and accountable to the people we serve, the residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Fiscal responsibility by vigilant attention to borough finances is critical. I will monitor all borough expenditures to assure that no more money is spent than revenues received. The borough has a sound and reasonable income and tax base, there is no reason to overspend. Accountability to the public is not a political word, it is mandatory.
I will enhance the borough presence in communities like Seward and Homer. These are locations with borough offices that are under utilized. Frequent visits by borough managers or directors will be made to the offices and they be available to interact with residents directly. Inclusion of all borough communities will be the norm, not the exception. I will propose two assembly meetings per year in Homer and Seward. This will bring the borough assembly to the residents.
The office of Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor is the representative of all borough residents and I will honor that trust when elected mayor.
Thank you and I ask for your vote for mayor on Oct. 7.zz