It's municipal election day on the Kenai Peninsula, indeed in most of Alaska. Borough residents, depending on where they live, face a variety of choices on the ballot, however, everyone in the borough will be voting on who will be our new mayor. Three candidates are running: Dale Bagley, Linda Farnsworth Hutchings, and Charlie Pierce are all hoping for 50-percent-plus-one vote to avoid a costly run-off election between the top two vote-getters.
In the City of Kenai, there are three candidates seeking two open seats. Bob McIntosh is taking on incumbents Tim Navarre, and Henry Knackstedt.
Conversely, in the City of Soldotna, there is only one candidate for mayor and nobody running against the two incumbents seeking re-election.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education candidates are elected by region. In District 3, Nikiski, Joe Arness and Jason Tauriainen face off in the only contested race. District 4, Soldotna has one candidate, Penny Vadla, as does District 7, with Debbie Cary of Ninilchik on the ballot. The same goes for District 8, Homer, where Mike Illg is the only candidate for school board.
As far as ballot propositions go, only people who live outside of incorporated cities in the borough will see Proposition 1 on their ballot. That seeks to ban any commercial cannabis operations in unincorporated areas of the borough. Those include retail stores, cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities. A YES vote will ban those. A NO vote will maintain the status quo, keeping cannabis legal.
Meanwhile there will be borough-wide votes on Propositions 2 and 3. Prop 2 seeks permission for the borough government to borrow up to $5-million to upgrade the borough building's heating and cooling systems. Prop 3 seeks to raise the maximum amount of a sale that is subject to borough sales tax from $500 to $1,000, in an effort to close the borough's budget gap.
There are 19 candidates for 18 service area board seats. The lone contested position is for the Nikiski Senior Service Area Board, where Lacey Stock and Julie Marcinkowski are facing each other.
Seeking seats on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly include Dan Castimore and Brent Hibbert facing off in District 1, the Kalifornsky area; Duane Bannock and Hal Smalley in District 2-Kenai; and, Norm Blakely and Leslie Morton in District 5-Sterling/Funny River. The candidates for Districts 6 and 8, Seward and Homer, respectively, are Kenn Carpenter and Kelly Cooper, and are both running unopposed.