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As complex as the state budget is on the micro level, at the macro level, there are only three elements in play.

“We cut the budget in a significant way to keep a bigger PDF, we somehow find new revenues, which, I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t think is on the table in a big way this session. Or we either overdraw from the earnings of the permanent fund or we take our one last savings account, which we have shown you is down to a very sort of perilous $2 billion mark. And those are basically our choices. They’re all difficult choices,” said Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, of Dillingham, at a town hall meeting Saturday in Soldotna.


A Sterling couple died in a vehicle collision just after noon Friday at Mile 90.5 of the Sterling Highway just east of Soldotna, near the Jim Dahler Road-Forest Lane intersection

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is doing its annual roadshow, rolling out the proposed budget in a series of community meetings around the borough. Budget presentations were held in Kenai and Soldotna this week.

At a meeting Thursday at Soldotna High School, KPBSD Finance Director Liz Hays explained that the district is looking at a $2.26 million deficit next year.

“So, we ended FY19 with unassigned fund balance in the amount of $3.9 million, and so this year we’re not going to make cuts to accommodate the deficit we’re facing because that money will come out of fund balance to balance the budget for FY21,” Hays said.

Alaska Legislature

Kenai Peninsula residents have a chance to weigh in on the state’s budget without having to budget for a trip to Juneau.

Rep. Gary Knopp, of Kenai, will hold a legislative town hall meeting Saturday in Soldotna. Knopp will be joined by House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, of Dillingham, Rep. Louise Stutes, of Kodiak, and Rep. Neal Foster, of Nome.

“We’re midsession. We’re going to give you an update of where we’re at on the budget,” Knopp said. “We’re just starting to close out the budget Finance subcommittees and we’re going to debate the budget in full Finance and we’re looking for community input on that.”

In March, Alaskans can expect to find a census questionnaire in the mail. It takes 10 minutes to fill out and is only done once every 10 years.

The consequences for an individual of not completing and returning their census are, really, pretty minimal. The worst that will happen is you’ll get reminders in the mail and a census worker might — politely — end up at your door.

But the consequences for state and local governments of not getting an accurate count could be costly.

Much of the federal funding that is distributed to states is divvied up based on population.

“It does matter to Alaska’s economy — $3.2 billion of annual federal funding allocation is determined by our census data. The federal funding comes into over 70 local programs in Alaska,” said Jenny Carroll, with the city of Homer, who is part of a Complete Count Committee for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to help facilitate the 2020 census.


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Kenai Conversation

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Dig into the local food scene with Eliza Eller, one of the founders of the Iona community in Kasilof and the Kenai Local Food Connection, Heidi Chay, district manager for the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District, and Abby Ala, owner of Ridgeway Farms off Strawberry Road between Kenai and Soldotna.

More information on the events and topics discussed can be found at:

Ionia Alaska

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Bill gets the scoop on the new Alaska Craft Brew & Barley Wine Festival, held Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, in Anchorage.

Tag along with Tony Doyle and Craig Barnard on a ski tour of the Southern Kenai Peninsula and the mountains across Kachemak Bay.

 

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The Native inhabitants of the Kenai Peninsula before Western contact were masters at adapting to this land. Dr. Alan Boraas, anthropology professor at Kenai Peninsula College, presented “Yaghanen, The Time Before,” a discussion about the lives of the Dena’ina people who have lived and thrived here for a thousand years, to the Kasilof Regional Historical Association.

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Kenai River Brewing shares its plans for reopening Kenai Joe's in a special, live segment of the show. And speaking of reopening, Barnaby Brewing in Juneau tells Bill about recovering from a fire that shut them down for about a year.

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