Contributed by Mike Dryden, Wasilla City Councilmember
Fall is in the air - snow is moving down the mountains, your moose is in your freezer or still in your dreams (wait until next year) and the City/Borough election is history. Yours truly as well as Mayor Bert Cottle, Councilmember Glenda Ledford and Deputy Mayor Stu Graham would like to thank the voters for your support. We will endeavor to earn your confidence and continuing support in the coming term.
The temporary sales tax increase was approved by the City of Wasilla voters, so the planning for our new Wasilla Police Complex can continue at a more rapid pace. We all can look forward to the completion in 2020, when the new site decreases police response time in Wasilla. The new borough-wide dispatch system operated by the Wasilla Police Department has already decreased wait time for citizens calling 911, and the new modern more centrally located police department will vastly improve police service to the community.
The mayor and the city council believes forward-funding for a major capital project like the police complex is ethical, responsible fiscal management of taxpayers dollars. Some have voiced their opinion in opposition to the City’s pay-as-you-go method. Instead of the forward-funding of a capital project, they supported raising funds by issuing long-term bonds. Why would a governing body ever put children in elementary schools today in debt, when a short-term option like forward-funding is available? The political landscape is strewn with failed cities who put everything from paint to police cars on their credit card. The once great city of Chicago can’t pay it’s debts and has raised taxes so high, the residents that were left to pay the tab have moved. Almost every week, a city or county in California become insolvent.
When the ribbon is cut at the new Wasilla Police Complex, it will be debt free.
Some of the highlights on the council’s agenda this month, which may be found at the City of Wasilla website, are the numerous youth and not-so-young activities at the wonderful city library. More details are online and at the library’s reception area. The staff at the library have something going on for the kids every week, so visit the city’s newest attraction.
The Curtis Menard Memorial Sports Complex will receive funds from the council to start an Advanced Hockey League Program via intra-departmental transfer. This new program should be of interest to all you hockey fans, so check it out.
The regular council meetings for October have been scheduled for October 9th and the 23rd at 6PM or 1800 hours for you military types. The regular agenda items are reports from all department heads, a spokesperson for the Friends of the Library and a report covering student activities from Katelyn Boswell, a student attending Wasilla High School. The main items on the October 9th agenda are the certification of the election and a special meeting concerning the special session from Rep. Collen Sullivan-Leonard. Several routine housekeeping items will be addressed like intra-departmental funds transfers and proclamations by the mayor.
As always, the public is invited to express their opinion in the public arena. Seasoned visitors have been known to avail themselves of all of the opportunities on the agenda. The number of opportunities to speak for three minutes ranges from three to as many as there are items discussed in the meeting.
As I have stated in the past, your participation in your city council meetings is the grassroots of American democracy as envisioned by the founders. The city council will let you opine without regards to your address. All input is welcome.
Until next month, be safe and well-informed, and God bless America.
Author’s Note: The above column represents, unless otherwise noted, the opinions of Mike Dryden and not necessarily the City of Wasilla or any other organization with which he is associated.
Editor’s Note: This article has been published after the October 9th meeting. However, the minutes are presently available at www.cityofwasilla.com.