The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

City Council Candidate Questionnaire - Vanta Shafer

 

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Vanta Shafer, incumbent City Council candidate at Meet the Candidates night, Wednesday.

Vanta Shafer

Seward has miles and miles of water, sewer, roads and electrical infrastructure, much of which needs repair or replacement. How would you rank the need for attention in those areas and, if elected, what would you propose to address any or all of these issues?

Each year during the budget cycle, department heads give the City Council a list of infrastructure repairs and replacements needed for their respective departments. They provide information on potential costs and rank the projects in order of critical need. The City Council then chooses the projects that have available funding and find areas where extra funding can be provided. For example, the community’s 60-year-old electrical transformers needed to have their general condition assessed, needed to be painted and new oil. New transformers cost over a million dollars each. The City Council allocated some funds from the repair and replacement fund in the department, and eliminated the requirement for the electric department to transfer funds to the motor pool fund for new trucks for a year. This enabled the electric department to fully fund the upgrade of these transformers. We have ensured that funds are put into repair and replacement so we can build up funds to upgrade and fix infrastructure. The city also applies for grant funds and low interest loans to upgrade aging infrastructure. For example, we received a low interest loan to replace the main waterline on Third Avenue. This waterline was over 50 years old and in dire need of replacement. The Council has approved funding for a replacement water tank, blowers for the sewage lagoons, and replacement of floats in the harbor. I wish we had enough funds to fix everything at once, but this is quite a lot like taking care of a house, we do what we can with what is available.

What should the city do to meet the needs of the citizens?

Listen and respond to the citizens. When people come to us, we try and address their issues. We have had public meetings regarding the building permit process and building code changes and have taken the suggestions of the public to heart to streamline them and make them Seward friendly. We continually reference the City of Seward Comprehensive Plan to ensure we are accomplishing what the citizens have told us they want. We are working toward more full time jobs, improving infrastructure and working hard to figure out ways to reduce energy costs.

City of Seward Council candidate Dave Squires questionnaire answers.

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City of Seward Council candidate Bob Valdatta questionnaire answers.

 

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