Lillian Feldpausch is one of five candidates running for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 7.
My name is Lillian Feldpausch and I am asking for your support for Sitka Assembly. Sitka has been my family’s home for over ten years. My husband and I chose Sitka because it is a small, safe, rural community surrounded by incredible beauty that afforded great opportunities for my whole family. My goal, if elected to the Assembly, would be to help find reasonable solutions to Sitka’s economic, housing, and municipal budget issues, without changing the attributes of the community that drew me to Sitka in the first place.
Over the last 25 years Sitka’s economy has undergone significant changes. Economic diversification is critical in providing Sitka with a healthy stable economy. Living wage jobs are essential to this economy; minimum wage just doesn’t cut it. We also need to encourage major employers like SEARHC to continue operating in Sitka.
I support tourism as key component for a diversified Sitka economy. I also believe that the tourism industry doesn’t need to change the look of Sitka to increase visitor numbers. Both my sons work with Allen Marine and they interact with tourists off the cruise ships and Allen Marine Dream Cruises. Almost all of the tourists they talked to comment that they like Sitka because it’s “real Alaska” and not made up like downtown Juneau or Ketchikan. I believe the tourism industry needs to adapt to the limitations that it’s currently experiencing. Expanding visitation outside the traditional tourist season would increase revenues that have been lost due to declining cruise ship stops.
There have been many attempts to address the affordable housing issue in Sitka that have met with limited or no success. Affordable housing should be split into two categories, affordable rentals and affordable home ownership. While both of these categories have their own complexities the underlying cause is the lack of housing. One component to solving this problem would be to fully develop the benchlands. Another step to resolve this issue would be to increase property taxes on undeveloped property. This would encourage development and increase City revenues.
The main issue that spurred me to run for City Assembly is the number of past, present, and proposed City projects and the excessive spending associated with these projects. Although many of these projects have been partially funded with State, Federal, or grant monies, tax payer money still comes into play. Considering the state of the City coffers we need to clearly identify essential needs from wants. With many of these projects there are associated maintenance and replacement costs that aren’t taken into account. If elected to the Assembly I will take my fiduciary obligation to the tax payers of Sitka to heart. I will push to have a project’s operational, maintenance, and replacement cost identified and ensure that funding mechanisms are in place prior to me supporting that project. If we as taxpayers have to live within our means we should expect the City to do the same. I’m also not afraid to say no.