Story last updated at 2:55 p.m. Thursday, September 26, 2002

City mayor candidate eyes another term
Compiled by Carey James
Staff Writer

The following is the final segment in a four-part series presenting the answers (limited to 100 words or less) to four questions posed to city council candidates. This week, the two mayoral candidates were given an opportunity to present their views. Candidate Harry Gregoire did not respond to the questions.

Jack Cushing

Age: 52

Occupation: Civil engineer

Area of residence: 10 years, 20 Mile East Road; 16 years, airport area

What are the lessons learned from annexation?

For many years leading to annexation, the City of Homer has been very generous with its services area-wide. Fire service, water, recreational facilities the list goes on. The city tried in other ways over the years to promote broader participation on an area-wide basis with less than successful response. To avoid having to make up for so much at one time, the city should, on a yearly basis, review the services it provides to the greater area and mechanisms for fair participation for these services.

Given the current tight state fiscal situation, what is your philosophy on taxes, spending and the current city budget?

During the last six years, the City of Homer has reduced taxes three times, specifically the flat tax to boat owners, $100,000 personal property tax exemption, and the .5 mill rate reduction. I believe Homer should strive to tax no more than an average Alaska community. Spending should be for the basic city functions with a small amount reserved for other items important to the community. The current city budget should remain balanced, as has successfully been our goal for many years now.

Given all the projects the city has on its plate (library, animal shelter, water and sewer expansion) what would your top priorities be?

The council recently produced a list of priorities. My input to that list follows.

New public library; establishment of expanded college in conjunction with Town Square Project; Water issues; Animal Shelter, Deep Water Dock, Phase II; Steep Slope Development and Bluff Ocean Erosion Solutions; Building Size Issues; Expanded Street Mainten-ance; West and East Hill Road utilities extensions; Site Development and Conditional Use Process; Sewer Treatment Storm Water Infiltration Study; and the Second Entrance to Homer High School.

How can the Homer City Council make Homer a better place to live?

The city council can continue to bring a balance of projects to the area. For instance, the new Pioneer Dock has obvious benefits to marine transportation. Similarly, the city's help on getting funding for the Fish & Wildlife Visitors Center has benefits to the area as a visitor destination and for the health of the refuge. New council projects must continue this balance. A diverse community is a healthy community. We must actively plan for our future growth such that generations 50 or 100 years from now will thank us for our foresight.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com.

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