By Naomi Klouda
After 1,800 absentee ballots were tallied, Kenai Peninsula voters spoke in favor of animal control by a 3,388 to 3,383 count. Proposition A would have been defeated if not for the absentee and early ballots.
Since it was an advisory vote, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is given the voters’ go-ahead to launch a boroughwide animal control department to respond in areas outside of cities.
The second question on funding the new program, however, did not meet with voter approval, by a big margin — 4,306 no to 2,451 yes. That question proposed to pay through an additional service area tax that amounted to about $3 a year per property owner. The new borough ballot count put a further spread between incumbent Mayor Mike Navarre, who won re-election at the head of the Kenai Peninsula Borough with 5,895 to Tom Bearup’s 3,894 and Carroll Martin’s 1,000 votes. Navarre took 54 percent of the vote to Tom Bearup’s 35.9 and Carrol Martin’s 9.2 percent. That is up from the preliminary count of Navarre’s 4,794 votes to Bearup’s 3,270 and Martin’s 846 votes.
Status quo from voters
Voters most notably went for the status quo in the Oct. 7 elections. Mayor Mike Navarre agreed that voters on the borough level were satisfied with the current administration, or he would not have won re-election.
“Really the borough has run smoothly for the past three years and I think the voters recognize that,” Navarre said. “Voters showed the status quo is not only acceptable, it’s preferable. There are a lot of people in the borough who do a great job for residents. I get the credit as mayor, but it really belongs to employees and my administrative staff.”
In his next term, Navarre is looking ahead to work on the liquefied natural gas facility as the designated terminus of the proposed gas line from the North Slope. “There will be a lot of work on the LNG facility. We have to pay attention to the social and economic study and the environmental study that will be part of 12 resource reports to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission,” Navarre said.
These will help identify impacts of the project and how to identify costs that will be paid for by the industry and what costs the borough may have to pay for infrastructure. He also wants to make a dent in the crisis of constantly rising health care costs burdening the borough.
This year the chance of a mayoral runoff vote was less likely than the runoffs in 1996 and 2011 that swept Navarre into office. The peninsula typically has voted twice on its mayors due to the 50 percent vote requirements by borough law. Though Bearup lost in the borough mayor’s race, he won at least six precincts as the clear favorite — in Anchor Point with 62 percent of the vote, 51 percent in Nikiski, 47 percent in Sterling Precinct 1 and 45 percent in Precinct 2 (Navarre took low 40 percents in those precincts), and 53 percent in Funny River Precinct 2.
Borough ballot measures
- Yes: Prop A on the Kenai Peninsula Borough ballot asked voters if the borough should “Exercise limited animal control powers for the purposes of domestic animal rescue and care related to rescue in the areas of the borough outside of the cities.” It initially failed 2,831 to 2,772. But when the final votes were counted, its passage by a small margin of five votes means the assembly can take this as a nod of approval to get started, said Johni Blankenship, borough clerk.
- No: Prop B asked whether KPB elections should be conducted by mail. Since this is an advisory vote, any future decision would have still depended on action from the borough assembly. An ordinance that would decide the matter by the assembly has been postponed until January when it will be voted on. Prop B failed 3,599 to 1,993. A Part B on that prop also failed, 5,786 to 3,046.