Petition Calls for New Charter for City of Homer

     A Homer man has a plan to remake city government. If his efforts are successful, a new seven-member commission could be formed to write a new city charter. Ken Castner, the man behind the petition, is calling for a charter commission. 

    Basically, the commission would be made up of seven elected members, who would then be tasked with writing a new city charter for the City of Homer. The commission would have one year to write the new charter, which would then be voted on by the people.

     Castner has had his own problems with Homer city government, notably over the way it is charging condominium owners for the build-out of a natural gas network. Castner even filed a lawsuit against the city over that issue. But he says the move toward a charter commission, a new charter and “home rule” for the City of Homer is not just about him.

     He says a “malaise” has settled over Homer voters – something that he believes is manifested in low voter turnouts – and that too many important city decisions are being made by the city administration.

     Castner says a new city charter could change just about everything about the way the city is run, including switching from a city manager to a strong mayoral form of government.

     Homer City Council members had many questions for Castner Monday but few expressed an opinion one way or another. 

     For the petition drive to be successful, Castner will have to collect about 385 signatures. City Clerk Jo Johnson said the petitions would be ready by Tuesday, after which Castner will have 90 days to gather the signatures.