Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 6:07 PM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two good ideas for borough

Here are two good ideas for improving life in our borough:

1. A sales tax holiday. Many states who have sales tax legislate certain days when merchants do not charge sales tax. In Oklahoma, businesses say that they make as much in their three-day holiday as they do at Christmas. In Tennessee, where the sales tax approaches 10 percent, they have their holiday right before school starts. Wouldn't a sales tax holiday right after the PFD checks go out be a great incentive to spend that money here at home instead of carting it off to Anchorage where everything is always at least 6 percent cheaper from the get-go? What a wonderful boost for the folks who provide local jobs. That would be real economic development, at a lot less cost than the non-governmental organization Economic Development District begging for our tax dollars each year.

2. Apply new technology to our garbage. Solid waste is our second largest budget item in the borough. We spend millions to bury our garbage when there are new technologies that convert garbage to energy. Some use it to generate steam to produce electricity or heat water and buildings. Other processes convert waste to synthetic oil that can be refined (at Tesoro). There is currently a project in Western Alaska that turns fish waste into biodiesel that reduces the fuel that must be imported for winter.

Currently, all biological hazardous waste from the state's hospitals must be shipped Outside. There's a lot of un-salable real estate on the peninsula, due to hydro-carbon contamination. Both could be remediated with current technology that is expensive up-front, but would actually turn a profit after a time.

So who is the only forward-thinking candidate that proposes these ideas? Fred Sturman. He has more good ideas on the issues at his website, www.VoteFred.us. Vote Oct. 4 for someone who thinks outside the box instead of resting on what they did in the past.

Vicki Pate