Two seats on the Homer City Council are in contention for the October 1, 2019 Municipal Election. The seats are currently held by Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas who were elected in 2016. Those seats are being challenged by first time candidates, Joey Evensen and Storm Hanson-Cavasos. KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson sat down with Shelly Erickson to talk about her time on the council and her goals for the upcoming year.
Shelly Erickson cites a few reasons, when asked why she wants to serve a second term on the Homer City Council. She says she'd like to be around to see a few important projects brought to completion.
“As we go into the next 10 years from 2020, that we’re on a good path forward with some of those things that we needed to close the door on, you know. Like, getting a new police station. With the way the state and the borough and the federal government is, It's really difficult to get money anymore. And the fact that we came up with something that we could afford I think was a big win for the City of Homer," said Erickson.
Erickson owns two businesses in town. She and her husband started Homer Tours in 1995 and Home Run Oil in 2000. In her, very spare, spare time you might see her on stage in Sally Oberstein’s musicals, playing piano with the Church on the Rock band, or riding with the Snomads.
Erickson describes herself as the behind-the-scenes person in her businesses and says she’s proud of the fact that she employs people in Homer.
“My average during the winter is around 25 to 30 (employees). So, you know, to me it's significant because I have to come up with the payroll," Erickson said.
She mentions the city’s recent move to a two year, instead of yearly, budget, and the paving of Greatland Road between Pioneer Avenue and the bypass as two of of the council’s accomplishments during her tenure. She makes sure to point out that the Greatland extension achieves something that the city can’t do on Main Street, even with its recent improvements.
"It also allowed for a sidewalk coming down for people to walk from Pioneer Avenue Down to the bypass. Main Street, between the bypass and Pioneer Avenue, is state property. We can't just go and put a sidewalk there. So it also helps to keep people from having head-on collisions things like that."
Erickson says that much of the most important council business is not particularly exciting, but necessary to the health of the city and gives the examples of the council’s work updating the city’s lease policies and their work on Title 14 and 17.
“That is the water and the sewer the laws concerning the water lines hooking up where it's allowed where it's not allowed. We have a standard from the past that we've looked at, but I don't want Homer to be in that place. I think that we need to be looking forward for the next generation,”said Erickson.
Finally, Shelly Erickson says she wants to continue on the council because she is optimistic about the future of Homer.
“I just want to see us continue as a community hand in hand, working together. So the things, the goals that we want to achieve we're able to do that not out of friction and fear but out of friendship."
To see all 4 candidates’ statements, go to the City of Homer’s website.