Cordova City Councilor Josh Hallquist recalled

Three ordinances passed Nov. 1 may potentially bring an additional $331,000 to city coffers

A special recall election was held in Cordova on Nov. 7 to decide if councilmember Josh Hallquist should be recalled from council seat E for alleged misconduct while in office. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
A special recall election was held in Cordova on Nov. 7 to decide if councilmember Josh Hallquist should be recalled from council seat E for alleged misconduct while in office. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Cordova City Councilor Josh Hallquist has been recalled.

The preliminary vote in the special election held on Nov. 7 was 217-99.

The election was called after allegations that Hallquist’s actions earlier this year constituted defamation of character, threats to business people, and use of foul/disrespectful language.

Preliminary election results reported shortly after 9 p.m. on Nov. 7 by city election chairwoman Ruth Steele, showed 217 votes in favor of recalling Hallquist, and 99 votes to retain him as a city councilor.

City Clerk Susan Bourgeois said there are up to 22 absentee ballots left to be counted. The election board will meet Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. to count those ballots, and the election will be certified by city council later that night during the council meeting.

There was only one proposition on the ballot: Proposition No. 1, which read, “Shall Josh Hallquist be recalled from the office of City Council Member?”

An official ballot from the City of Cordova special recall election held on Nov. 7. Voters were asked to decide if councilmember Josh Hallquist should be recalled from council seat E for alleged misconduct while in office. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
An official ballot from the City of Cordova special recall election held on Nov. 7. Voters were asked to decide if councilmember Josh Hallquist should be recalled from council seat E for alleged misconduct while in office. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

The polls were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cordova Center.

The recall election came about due to a petition spearheaded by sponsors Chris Bolin, Mike Arvidson, Brian Johannessen, Jim Cardwell, Jed Stene, Todd Mair, Robert Silveira, Bill Howard, Mark Wegner and Robert Smith in September, alleging misconduct by Hallquist while he was in office.

The recall petition, certified by Bourgeois on Sept. 19, garnered enough support from community residents to call for a special election.

Hallquist included the following statement on the Nov. 7 ballot: “My comments are taken out of context and at no point would I consider giving up my freedom and family to enforce city or state tax code. I am very passionate about some of the topics council wrestles with and at times can be very assertive and blunt in my approach to getting to the root of the issues as I see them,” he said.

In his ballot statement, Hallquist apologized for using foul language during the Aug. 2 city council work session.

“I apologize for using foul language to address the fact that city management is not willing to take a meaningful look at the refuse department operations (or any other department) for possible reduction in staffing to complement the reduction in activities and abandonment of a recycling program.

“The accusation of defamation of character appears to be based on allegedly calling the refuse department workers ‘window lickers.’ At no point during the meeting in question did I refer to the refuse department workers as ‘window lickers.’ I unfortunately used the word, but that is not how I used it. I believe the root issue of the petition is related to previous council action related to dogs in city buildings and vehicles,” he said.

Hallquist’s council seat E was set to expire in March 2018.

 

Adoption of city ordinances 1156, 1159, and 1160

The city council voted Nov. 1 to pass ordinances 1156, 1159 and 1160 on their second readings.

The ordinances, which will go into effect Jan. 1, will potentially increase city revenue to the tune of $331,000.

Ordinance 1156 will impose a 4 cent per gallon motor vehicle fuel excise tax on all motor fuel dispensed into vehicles and watercraft from a fuel facility within Cordova. The ordinance will potentially add $176,000 to city revenues.

Ordinance 1159 amends the Cordova municipal code to increase the cap on single sales tax purchases from $3,000 to $7,500, and is expected to bring in an additional $125,000 to the city.

Ordinance 1160 also amends city code, by eliminating the compensatory collection discount from sales tax, a discount which was previously given to businesses for the timely collection, filing and payment of city sales to the city. By terminating this discount, the city hopes to add an additional $30,000 of revenue to their financial resources.

City manager Alan Lanning said he believes the passage of these ordinances will help Cordova’s economic stability.

For more information on the ordinances, visit cityofcordova.net, or email Cordova City Clerk Susan Bourgeois at cityclerk@cityofcordova.net.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She’s been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She’s lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at cgibbens-stimson@thecordovatimes.com or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.