Borough assembly wraps 2018 with look ahead to budget battles

Dec 6, 2018

 


The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s last meeting of 2018 was one of its shortest.

Assembly member Willy Dunne delivered the first invocation on behalf of the Last Frontier Free Thinkers under the borough’s revamped policy for such addresses. A superior court ruled in October the borough had to make the slot available to anyone who wished to use it.

“I also invoke the concept presented by author Tony Hoagland, who wrote “rigidity of interpretation, self-righteousness, and the addictive urge to reprimand others in our public conversations, the desire to be right at the expense of others, are all instincts toward absolutism and that such moral certainties are another step toward reeducation camps.”

An already brief regular agenda was moved to the consent agenda, and so all new business was taken care of with a single, unanimous vote, including the appropriation of half a million dollars from the Insurance and Litigation Fund Balance to pay for additional insurance claims and premiums.

The assembly also got a preview of what some of the debate over next year’s education budget might look like when school district superintendent Sean Dusek gave his quarterly report. Student enrollment is down by more than 100 students across the district, which means funding from the state will also be down.

“After we ran the numbers through the formula, that does translate into about $300,000 less in revenue from the state of Alaska. So we’re working on that right now. We think we’ve found some savings that could offset that.”

Dusek said negotiations with the hospital could lead to some savings in health care costs. The district has been running a deficit for the better part of a decade, and this year projects a deficit of $1.4 million. Budget talks with the borough begin on January 14th. The assembly meets next on January 8th.