Which type of fish will you spend the most time trying to catch this summer?
City Council Candidate Chris Moulton
I’ve lived all over the lower 48, from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. My father’s employment in the hotel industry kept my family on the move, but also instilled the sense of adventure and living far from “home”. Originally I came up as a sea kayak guide with Anadyr Adventures, and after meeting my future wife, Heidi Franke, we decided to stay and call Valdez our home. After short stint working for City (you may remember me from the front desk) I accepted a Buyer’s position with Prospector Outfitters. In the last two years Heidi and I have purchased a home, rescued a dog and were married, so it’s been a bit busy.
I have a History and Political Science degree, which shows my weakness for long historical nonfiction books and my interest in public policy. Besides boring my wife with archaic historical facts, outdoor activities are my main passion. Whether I’m out chasing ptarmigan with my pup or skiing steep lines in the Chugach, I love being outside in Valdez.
When I’m not outside or working, I split my time between many different organizations. I am a volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT/Rescue Technician, Parks and Recreation Commissioner, original member of Valdez Snow Authority, volunteer rockwall attendant, and other seasonal volunteer positions.
1. What are three main challenges for the City of Valdez in the next five years? As a potential council member, how do you plan to address them?
Tax Code- I believe the City has revenue and tax issues to face in the near future. Between litigation and settlements with the Pipeline, coupled with questionable tax codes over the past decade, I believe we may find ourselves in a tough spot. We need to work on making our tax code more transparent and work with industry to find a number that allows Valdez to know how much and when we can use monies collected through taxes from the Pipeline. I also feel that we need to reevaluate the long term impacts to property owners, values, new building, and rental rates associated with a 20 mill tax rate.
Diversification of Industry- While we rely heavily on the taxes collected across the Bay, I believe it is in our best interest to diversify with new business, industry and tourism. Growing all forms of tourism in all seasons should be a priority of this City. This means the City must grow and promote partnerships with other regions, exploit natural recreational resources, and promoting shoulder season tourism.
Public Relations and Volunteerism- Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of civic minded people in Valdez, and in fact the amount that some people give is phenomenal. But I think the City should nurture and encourage public participation in events, planning, programs, and other areas to increase the public perception of City workings and to foster a culture of shared responsibility within the town.
2. The City of Valdez has put considerable effort into strategic planning in the last few years, do you feel the current level of planning is lacking, adequate or excessive? Please explain.
I haven’t seen a final product from the strategic planning, so it’s hard to say. I know, as a Parks and Rec Commissioner, long term strategic planning has forced us to prioritize projects and begin looking longer term, at the future of Parks and Recreation in Valdez. I believe this is extremely important for the future stability of Valdez and it is crucial that the long term plan be developed, implemented and carried out in a responsible fashion. This will allow the City to prioritize and decide where and when money is spent and to ensure that money is being spent in a responsible fashion.