Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:38 PM on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Filing opens; Smith may run for assembly seat

By Michael Armstrong and McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writers

Candidates for borough and city offices wasted no time this week when the filing period opened at 8 a.m. Monday. The filing period ends Aug. 15 for the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the city of Homer. Kachemak City's filing period is Aug. 20-Sept. 15.

Six individuals have announced their candidacy for borough mayor, but only one at this point has made it official with the borough clerk's office: Dale Bagley of Soldotna. Others who have publicly stated their intent to run for borough mayor include Debbie Holle Brown of Kasilof, Mike Navarre of Kenai, Tim O'Brien of Nikiski, Fred Sturman of Kenai and Gary Superman of Nikiski. Most have already begun campaigning, as evidenced by billboard signs popping up along state and local roads — some in violation of state law — throughout the peninsula.

Bryan Zak, who currently sits on the Homer City council, filed as a candidate for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, District 8. If Zak is elected, he would have to resign his current council seat, with a new member appointed by the council to fill his seat until the next regular election, when a person would be elected to serve the remaining years of the seat.

An ordinance passed Tuesday by the assembly on an eight-to-one vote, with only Brent Johnson of Kasilof opposing it, may open the door for Bill Smith, who currently represents District 8 and is limited by borough code to two terms, to run for re-election. Smith served the final year of Deb Germano's three-year term after she resigned from the assembly in 2007; he was re-elected in 2008.

According to borough code, any portion of a term, such as Smith's first year on the assembly, counts as a term. The code doesn't prohibit an individual running for election, but does draw the line at being seated on the assembly, said Smith. Ordinance 2011-24 redefines "term" as a regular term, excluding portions of terms served, such as Smith's first year on the assembly. The ordinance goes into effect Oct. 14, 10 days after the upcoming election.

Can Smith run for re-election and, if successful, be seated 10 days later?

In an email from the borough attorney's office Wednesday, Smith was told he is eligible to run for office and hold office for another term, but, should he win, he must wait until after Oct. 14 to be sworn in.

Also on the borough ballot will be:

• Assembly seats for District 2, Kenai, and District 5, Sterling/Funny River.

• Anchor Point Fire Service Area Board, seats A and E, each three-year terms; seat B, a two-year term; seat D, a one-year term. As of Tuesday morning, Robin Proctor is the only candidate to have filed for Seat A;

• Kachemak Emergency Service Area Board, seat A, a three-year term;

• South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board, seat C, a one-year term; seats D, E and F, each three-year terms; seat G, a 2-year term;

• Two propositions: repeal of the borough seasonal exemption from sales tax of non-prepared food items and increasing the borough sales tax from 3.0 percent to 3.1 percent with the additional 0.1 percent to be used for economic development purposes, and repealing the 60 percent voter approval requirements to increase the sales tax rate.

The city of Homer ballot includes races for two, 3-year city council seats currently held by Barbara Howard and David Lewis, both of whom have filed for re-election. There are no city propositions, according to Jo Johnson, city clerk.

Howard was first in line Monday to get her name on the ballot. She was appointed in 2008 to fill a seat vacated by former council member Lane Chesley when he resigned to move to Virginia. The owner with her husband Robert of Sea Nymph Charters and Barbara's Bed and Breakfast, Howard previously served on the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board and the Homer Advisory Planning Commission. She was elected to a three-year seat in 2008. Lewis also was elected to a three-year seat in 2008. Both ran unopposed. Lewis is a retired school teacher who taught in western Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

While Kachemak City's filing period doesn't open until Aug. 20, that ballot will include two council seats currently held by Tammy Ackerman and Phil Morris, the city mayor.

A proposition asking voter approval for increasing the rate of real property tax by one mill also will be on the Kachemak City ballot. If approved, that increase would help finance the city's natural gas distribution system after a pipeline is constructed to deliver natural gas to the area from wells near Anchor Point.

Declarations for candidacy will be accepted:

• By the Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk's office beginning 8 a.m. Aug. 1 through 4:30 p.m. Aug. 15; for more information, call (907) 714-2160 or (800) 478-4441, ext. 2160;

• By the Homer City Clerk's office beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 1 until 5 p.m. Aug. 15; for more information, call 235-3130;

• By Kachemak City Clerk from Aug. 20-Sept. 15; call City Clerk Helyn Schoepke, 235-8897.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com. Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.