Sales tax is important on the Kenai Peninsula. Borough sales tax translates to funding for schools.
Officials anticipated a drop in sales tax revenue during the pandemic. Recently released data show the taxable sales reported to the borough in 2020 were down over $116 million from 2019, a change of 10 percent. In Homer, the difference was 8 percent. In Seward, it was a 35 percent difference.
But those losses were not equally distributed. The cities of Kenai and Soldotna saw their taxable sales slightly increase from 2019 to 2020.
A cooperative buying campaign is pushing again to get discounted solar panels on more Kenai Peninsula roofs.
Volunteers from Solarize the Kenai mobilized 82 property owners last year to outfit their homes and businesses with panels. It’s a collective effort, so interested homeowners sign up in groups to get group rates.
The Alaska Energy Authority plans to install between 10 and 14 electric chargers along the Railbelt, from Homer and Seward to Fairbanks.
The corporation is looking for companies to make those charging stations and sites to host them. It has about $1 million to put toward the project, part of Alaska’s share of a 2017 settlement with Volkswagen over a Diesel emissions scandal.