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Bill Starr - Eagle River/Chugiak

March 22, 2011

Name: Bill Starr

Occupation: Business Owner

Website: www.starrak.com

Registered Political Party: Republican

Last book you read: The Wilderness Of Denali, by Charles Sheldon

Favorite movie: Top-Gun

Why are you running for the Anchorage Assembly?:  Serve my community.

What one sentence best describes your philosophy of how city government should be run?:  City government should provide public safety, infrastructure, and education functions in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.

What letter grade would you give the current assembly, and why?:  "B-"

Although progress has been made, municipal spending is still exceeding sustainable revenues. A better understanding and awareness of this fiscal dilemma is occurring by some members.

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What letter grade would you give Mayor Sullivan’s administration, and why?: "B"

The Sullivan administration has recognized “the spending problem” and begun effective changes in government structure that has resulted in some efficiencies. Fiscal management systems and public reporting of finances has improved greatly.

What are your thoughts on the 2008 union contracts approved by the Assembly?  Is there a link to those contracts and the city’s current fiscal situation?: These labor contracts increased our employer personnel costs and benefits to levels more lucrative than comparative private sectors. The 5-year terms provide no flexibility and are the primary cause of our spending problem and yearly increases in expenses.

What are your thoughts on the budget reductions proposed by Mayor Sullivan over the past two years? Are they too much?  Not deep enough? A right amount?: Mayor Sullivan has let the attrition rate of firemen exceed re-hire programs over the past year. Police restructuring of detectives appears to make sense although a police academy is necessary to stem retirements. Road maintenance programs are achieving efficiencies.

What city services would you like to see reinstated, and how would you suggest they are paid for?: Continued reductions and efficiencies should occur in finance management and some public health service programs.

Are property taxes too high? What consideration should be given to alternative taxes like the tobacco tax, or a sales tax?: Tax burdens on property owners are too high. Ever increasing expenses should be offset by continued reduction in government size (personnel reductions) and by effective outsourcing of non-core services. Several more years of this approach are required before additional revenue sources are necessary.

What is the most important issue affecting the city as a whole?: Short term- ever increasing property taxes (due to unsustainable MOA and ASD budgets). Long term- shortage of natural gas and affordable energy.

What is the most important issue facing your district more than other districts?: Increased development pressures compromising our quality of life and unique characteristics (open spaces, large lots, low traffic…)

Incumbents -- What three pieces of legislation you authored during your current assembly term are you are most proud of?  Why?:

  1. Develop revised fiscal reporting programs on monthly basis- helps track spending and revenue trends on a timely basis.
  2. Chugiak/Eagle River Title 21- Chapter 10 land use regulations- provides mechanisms to ensure maintenance of area lifestyle and promotes appropriate development.
  3. Revised 2011 Budget-  Established spending levels $9 million below taxable cap and achieved unanimous approval from other Assembly members.

Should the municipality require mandatory photo identification for all customers purchasing alcohol at package liquor stores? Why or why not?: No. Cumbersome on all just to “catch” a few violators. Store policy should be left to owners with severe fines and loss of license for underage and ‘red-stripe’ sales.

Should an agency other than the Anchorage Police Department be allowed to issue parking tickets to vehicles parked downtown? Why or why not?: Yes. Allowing parking authority to manage and monitor parking downtown will increase revenues and free up uniformed police for more important functions.

Should the city extend the disabled veteran property tax exemption to widows and widowers? Why or why not?: The current exemption program for widowers should not be changed from current age and disability levels. Increasing exemptions shifts costs to other property owners.

The last municipal election had the lowest voter turnout in at least 20 years. Why should people head to the polls and vote on April 5?: To ensure that the most qualified and hard working candidates get elected.

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