PALMER — The Palmer Council discussed a number of items stemming from the October 2020 elections at their regular meeting on Tuesday, including an error on the ballot that will require council action. Voters approved Referendum Ordinance 20-004 in October by a count of 606 to 123 to approve term limits for council members.
I have become aware that the final resolution number 20-10 regarding council’s term limits did not reflect the council’s amendment made on the floor the night that it was approved which means the amendment did not get reflected on the ballot either,” said Palmer Clerk Norma Alley.
The amendment made to the motion by council prior to being sent to Palmer voters on the ballot would have limited council members to six terms totaling 18 years. The language that voters approved in October included term limits of 12 years over four terms. The council can now has two options in followup, both of which would require legislation. Alley said that clerk procedures have been amended to include extra oversight and review for future legislation.
“Legislation will need to be drafted, legislation to put it back for on the ballot for when the council wishes to do that to be the wish of what council had as the amendment, or another piece of legislation could come forward amending the resolution to pretty much redact the amendment that was made so it would be a resolution. It would uphold what the citizens voted on in October 2020,” said Alley.
Voters approved all four propositions and elected Brian Daniels to the council as well as reelecting Deputy Mayor Sabrena Combs. Also from the 2020 ballot, the council took public hearing on Resolution 21-017 for a USDA loan from the Clean Water Fund for two secondary clarifiers at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Palmer cleanup day will be on May 1 form 9:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m., with spring cleanup week taking place the following week from May 3 through 7. Among the proclamations Tuesday, May was declared Bike Month in Palmer.
“Everybody get out and ride your bike in May, or all the time,” said Councilwoman Julie Berberich.
Alaska State Fair CEO Jerome Hertel presented to the council, discussing the difficulty that befell the fair when the coronavirus pandemic forced a cancelation of the 2020 fair festivities in Palmer.
“Very happy to be here and very happy to be able to report that hey we’re having a fair in 2021! Very excited about that, very excited to reconnect with everybody, with our vendors, our partners, customers, the public and reconnecting in every way after a big disappointment in 2020. You know we made that difficult decision back in May of 2020. It was a difficult decision, it was we felt the only decision for the safety of our guests and the safety of preventing further outbreaks of covid,” said Hertel.
Last May, the fair estimated that they may lose up to $1.5 million due to the cancelation of the fair, but made efforts to create additional revenue sources. The fair hosted events on the fairgrounds all last year including a food truck fair, drive in movies and concerts in the summer and a holiday light display in the winter along with a rodeo and jamboree carnival. Later next month, the fair will host a nationally televised rodeo event.
“Of course our goal was to remain open, remain active, provide these safe events for the community and I think we accomplished that goal,” said Hertel.
On Thursday, the fair announced more concerts that will be held at the Borealis Theater including Dashboard Confessional. Hertel said that more concert announcements from well-known acts would be coming in the next few months and that concerts at the Borealis Theater would be at full capacity in 2021. This year’s fair will be a 14-day fair from August 20 to September 9 and Hertel reported that 90 percent of their vendors will return.
“It gives us a lot of hope. The vendors are coming back, the carnival’s going to come back. That first weekend of the fair is going to have all the fair favorites. It’s going to have carnivals, it’s going to have food,” said Hertel. “That’s shaping up really well. You’re going to see some of those favorite annual events coming back in 2021 that everybody missed in 2020.”