What will be gained by Home Rule?

  • Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:00pm
  • News

Everyone wants things to work better. Homer being a first-class city isn’t perfect but it works. Having been privileged to work with this bureaucracy in the past, I would like to make a few comments.
The question for me is: No. 1 — What will be gained in going to Home Rule? There are two things that stand out, first is that the mayor will run the city business and will be elected for a term by the people. Second, the charter commission will write the charter which we will be governed by; this includes taxing authority and planning and zoning. Now, the seven individuals who are asking to be appointed to the commission will constitute the commisssion unless, there are write-in candidates who recieve more votes.
What is the down side?
As I see, it will be the loss of being able to hire a city manager who can meet the needs of the community and allowing the manager to be changed when the needs change. Next, if the commission decides to change the tax structure, how will that effect the property owners? Many people feel that sales tax should be eliminated, or user fees should pay for all services, or alternative schools should be compensated or paid for from the taxing authority. Also, as we consider the mayor running the business end of the city, the questions arise as too how much will the position be paid? Or how many specialists will be hired to accomplish the work needed during the mayor’s term of office?
Well, these thoughts are going to leave me with: the “devil I know, not the devil I don’t.”
John Fenske
 

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