Candidates needed for municipal offices

August is a time for fishing, the last of any gardening work and the enjoyment of harvesting the fruits (and vegetables) of that effort. It’s a time for home repairs, while there is still a plausible chance of dry weather to patch the roof, refinish the deck or scrape and repaint the siding.

It’s also a time to consider serving in public office.

Probably you’re thinking you’d rather pick garden slugs or clean the gutters than serve on the borough assembly, school board or port commission. At least no one criticizes you for those other pursuits, and you don’t have to answer questions and explain yourself to a neighbor when all you wanted to do was run into the store for a half-gallon of milk.

But just as weeding and maintenance are important for gardens and homes, so too are tending to public finances and ensuring the public process is well maintained to grow a healthy community. And for that, Wrangell needs people willing to run for election and serve.

The jobs don’t pay, they take a lot of time and work, and often require decisions between several unpleasant choices.

For example, Wrangell schools have steadily lost enrollment, which has cut deeply into state funding. The school district has been using federal pandemic relief funding and reserves to fill budget gaps, but those patches will not last. The schools have had a hard time recruiting for support staff positions and often struggle to find substitute teachers. The administration is working on the problems and board members can expect those issues and more on their meeting agendas.

The borough assembly is working to catch up on repairs to buildings long neglected, and is hoping someone will buy the former hospital and former 6 Mile sawmill property and turn the sites into something useful. The borough also needs to find ways to entice, encourage or assist new housing development in town. All the while keeping taxes as low as possible.

The port commission sets the rules for The Marine Service Center, City Dock and harbors, looking to serve recreational and commercial boat owners while promoting the offerings to bring more business to town.

The work lists are not intended to scare people away from running for public office. Rather, it should alert the community to how important the jobs are for Wrangell’s future and why it’s necessary that people volunteer to serve.

The candidate filing deadline for municipal offices is Aug. 31. Whether a current officeholder who wants to serve another term, or a new volunteer willing to help the community, Wrangell needs people to run for office. It’s more than a learning experience. It produces results, just like that garden or home repair.

— Wrangell Sentinel


Reader Comments(0)