Election Coverage

Peavey wants to see change in city’s direction

Dallas Peavey (photo provided)

Dallas Peavey might best be known in Sitka for running the local softball association. Now, he’s hoping to be a team player with another group in town: the Sitka Assembly.

This is the fourth of five profiles on the candidates for Assembly.

Dallas Peavey came to Sitka in 1989. He was 10 years old. Lived in a few other places, some in Southeast Alaska, and in Washington and California, but something always drew him back to Sitka.

“I’ve tried Washington – that’s where I was before I came here,” he said. “Went back down there, moved to Juneau for a while, tried California. Nothing felt like home like here.”

He works as a driver for Stragier Sanitation.

“Utility player for the company, pretty much,” he said. “A little bit of everything. Outside of work, I’m a father of three, I like to play sports, I run the Sitka Softball Association – I’m the commissioner of that, which is almost a full-time job during the summer.”

And he says he’s running for Assembly because Sitka is heading in the wrong direction, on a variety of issues.

“Infrastructure, for one. Our roads are falling apart, which I don’t understand,” he said. “We have enough tax coming in and I don’t know what the gas tax is, but I’m sure that’s go toward road repair.”

The city’s road needs stretch into the millions of dollars, and far outpace the collection of any revenue. Without help, some have suggested many of Sitka’s paved roads could revert to gravel. That, says Peavey, would be a mistake.

“You drive down those roads that are (gravel), like Smith Street, or the end of Jarvis, or anything like that, and they’re pothole ridden,” he said. “You can go over them as much as you want, but those potholes are always going to come back, and it’s just going to damage cars more.”

Sitka officials have unsuccessfully tried to get more money for the roads by asking voters to issue bonds or raise property taxes. And they’ve postponed another plan to add a biannual motor vehicle fee. It would be $200 every two years for a regular passenger vehicle.

“I own three cars, so $600,” he said. “That’s a big chunk out of your pocket, but if it goes toward the roads themselves, and not toward the general fund, I don’t see a big problem with that. It’s only every couple years.”

Peavey is in the middle on a variety of fiscal issues. For example, the annual struggle the Assembly has with the city budget – whether to cut, whether to tax, or in between.

“I mean there is some places we can cut. I’m sure there’s a bunch of people that don’t agree with that, obviously, because they’ll lose a job,” he said. “It seems like we have a lot of employees, and it doesn’t really seem like we need that many. We are a small town. I don’t want to point fingers or anything, but we definitely need to make some cuts and maybe increase a little bit of tax. A little of both.”

Things are a little clearer for him when it comes to education funding. Assembly members annually decide what amount of money they’ll send to the school district. The minimum and maximum amounts they can contribute are set by state law.

Peavey’s three children are 5, 7 and 11. And in debates over school funding, Peavey says he leans more toward the school’s needs.

“We don’t need to be going toward 35 kinds to one teacher or anything like that. It’s hard enough,” he said. “I had a hard time growing up in school, trying to get the attention, or just one-on-one help.”

And he by cutting the contribution to the schools, the Assembly could make things harder for a lot of students. And it’s three students in particular who are on Peavey’s mind when it comes to the future of the community at large.

“I want this town to be around for my kids, grandkids or great grandkids to be able to experience this place,” he said.

This is Peavey’s first run for office. But he believes he has a lot to contribute.

“I’m definitely new to politics, but I’m definitely a hard worker and will try my hardest to be a team player for sure,” he said.

Peavey shares the Assembly ballot with Aaron Swanson, Michelle Putz, Phyllis Hackett and Matt Hunter. Voters will choose three to serve. The municipal election is October 2.

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