COVID-19 is on all of our minds. It affects everything we do in many ways every day. In addition to the personal stories of hardship and health, other consequences of COVID-19 have not yet manifested fully in our community.
One of those consequences is the impact to the Homer City budget. Homer’s economy has been badly damaged by COVID-19. State and local revenues are down significantly and this decline will affect city services in the coming budget cycles. As a city we must find ways to improve our tax revenue base and job prospects to make Homer better able to withstand seasonal and incidental disruptions to our economy.
The proposed deep water port would provide 2,000 year-round jobs in Homer. It would also lift other economic aspects of the city with related jobs and services that would be insulated from temporary or seasonal fluctuations in our economy.
I believe that we should aggressively pursue and accelerate the timing for the construction of the deep water port and the expansion of the U.S. Coast Guard Station as a part of a greater economic plan. I believe we should make it our job as custodians of the city to do everything in our power at the local, state and federal levels to raise awareness of the value the deep water port will have to the region, all of Alaska, and our national security. In the process, the long sought after deep water port would add significantly to Homer’s long term economic stability as well as place Homer on a sound footing for future economic growth and security.
George Hall is a Homer resident who is running to be on the Homer City Council.