Dave Miller is one of three candidates running for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly. Sitka’s Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 5. (KCAW/Berett Wilber)

The filing period to run for a seat on the Sitka Assembly closed on August 6, and three candidates are in the running. KCAW spoke with Dave Miller, who is new to local politics, but not city government.

While Dave Miller doesn’t have experience in local politics, he knows how the city’s sausage is made. He worked for the city for 25 years, as a fire engineer, then chief of the fire department. In 2017 he applied for the vacant city administrator job, but later withdrew from the running. He served as acting administrator and acting police chief at different points during his tenure.

“And I always thought that it’d be, after I retired, it’d be a good thing to do to help pay back what what the city has done for me, I mean, by giving me a job by helping, you know, raise my kids here in town and all that,” he says. “I just thought it’d be a great thing to be able to help the city out and run for office.”

If elected, Miller says he doesn’t have specific legislation in mind to bring forward. 

“I don’t have any set goals to say, ‘Hey, I want to sell this or buy this or do this or do that,'” he says. “I want to help do whatever I can for the people in the city and for the for the city itself and you know, and the state, et cetera, to make things better if I can or, or keep things moving along if they’re running good.”

He says he’d like to avoid increasing taxes or rates, but being familiar with the challenges of city budgeting, he says he can’t make any promises. 

“My goal would be to try not to increase taxes. I’m not for going out there and just doing it randomly, increasing taxes to make people pay more,” he says. “But if it really needs to be done, then that’s, I think, what we’re gonna have to do, or we’re gonna have to cut things that we’re doing.”

Miller recalls, as an example, a time when the city considered not paving side roads in order to save money. “I’d really hate to see that and I think most people would,  that’s just a dusty thing, man,” he says. “But we need to figure out how to get money to make those roads work.” 

He says he’s in favor of seeing the marine haulout project through, and likely in favor of selling the Sitka Community Hospital building, which the city still owns but currently leases to SEARHC. 

“There’s a lot of maintenance and upkeep to be done on that building over the next number of years. I guess if I needed to make a decision today, I would probably be saying ‘It’s probably something that we need to sell and move on with,'” he says. “But I haven’t heard all sides of the story that are out there, and I’m more than willing to listen to those.”

And Miller says that philosophy will go with just about every decision he makes at the Assembly table. 

“I’m a pretty easy going guy. I love to talk. I’ll listen to what you have to say on just about any topic that you want to talk about, and I’ll try to figure it out,” he says. “We may not always agree, but I’ll at least listen to see what’s there, and I’m open to changing my mind if that needs to happen.” 

If Miller is elected, he will serve a three year term on the Sitka Assembly. Sitka’s Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 5.

Editor’s Note: Raven Radio will bring you continuing coverage of Sitka’s Municipal Election in the coming weeks. Interviews with the candidates, questionnaires and statements will be available on the KCAW Election Hub in early September.