Contributed by Bert Cottle
It’s been three years already since I was elected as Mayor of Wasilla, though it seems just like yesterday. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I was born and raised here in Wasilla. I graduated from Wasilla High School and Trinidad State College in Colorado, majoring in law enforcement. Upon graduation, I moved to Valdez where I spent 22 years as a police officer and 8 years as police chief. I also am a graduate of the Northwestern University Management Program and the FBI Academy. After retiring from the Police Department, I worked at North Pacific Fuel as office manager for 11 years. I have served as the City of Valdez Mayor for 10 years, Valdez City Council for 11 years, Alaska Gasline Port Authority for 12 years – past chairman, Alaska Municipal League for 6 years – past board president, Alaska Alcohol Beverage Control Board for 3 years, State Homeland Security Task Force and Wasilla Deputy Administrator for 3 years.
So, what has happened during the time I have been your mayor, what promises did I make three years ago and where are we now?
Three years ago when I asked for your vote, I listed four goals that I had to keep Wasilla first and moving forward.
1. Fiscally Responsible Government: With no money coming from the federal or state government and deficit spending coming out of Juneau, we must have a mayor who will not only be fiscally conservative, but must also be fiscally responsible with the budget. This goal has not changed and we have remained fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible.
2. Forward Funding of Large Capital Projects: Forward funding the new library saved Wasilla taxpayers three million dollars. I believe if voters want something today, then the voters of today should pay for that project and not put our children and grandchildren in debt for the next 30 years.
3. Continued Economic Growth: For Wasilla to grow and continue to not have a Wasilla property tax, we must also continue to be the business hub of the Valley. In August 2014 when I was elected mayor, we had 1,917 active business licenses. In August 2017, we had 2,244 active business licenses. Having a user-friendly government ensures continued development and growth. My motto being, “If our business community makes money, then Wasilla will make money and Wasilla will continue to grow.”
4. Improved Transportation Corridors: Improving transportation corridors throughout Wasilla is good for economic growth, business access, movement of goods and needed for public safety. In the past three years, the City has purchased land with a grant for the new train stop, opened Mack/Clapp Road, began work on the Centaur Extension for the Knik Goose Bay Road Couplet, began work on the new Riley Street extension which will open in 2018 and began work on the new Roberts Street extension due to open in 2019. Lastly, we have opened two new parks in Wasilla in the last three years, and we have just completed surveying a ¾ mile walking trail around the Menard Center to open in 2018.
For the past three years, I have been honored to serve as your mayor. I have tried to attend as many Borough Assembly and School Board meetings as possible, as well as numerous public meetings to represent the views and direction of the City of Wasilla. Without this representation, Wasilla will not be heard. When re-elected, I promise to always keep Wasilla first. Please vote October 3rd.