Borough mayor vetoes education spending

Jun 19, 2018

If the assembly dips into the borough's land trust fund, a move it's already voted down once, the education and other line item funding could remain.

Two weeks after the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly adopted a budget for next year, Borough mayor Charlie Pierce is excercising his line-item veto power. 

Pierce announced his intent to veto more than $650,000 in education funding ahead of Tuesday night's meeting. That money had been added to the budget by the assembly at its June 5th meeting.

Pierce is also targeting funding for the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council. The assembly voted to fund that organization to the tune of $306,000. Citing more cost effective marketing tools online, like Facebook, the mayor is proposing his initial funding amount of $100,000.

Many of the amendments to the budget were passed by a slim 5-4 majority. To override the mayor's veto, a super majority of 6-3 is necessary. 

A renewed call to use the borough's land trust fund as a temporary fix has also been issued. Assembly member Kenn Carpenter says if the assembly changes its mind and approves taking $1,750,000 from that fund, the school district and KPTMC can still get the money they've already been promised once.

"It's a way to pay for the schools and any other thing, KPTMC and all that, if we did it from the land trust, we'd have justification to do that. Otherwise, I'd have to say no KPTMC because it's money we don't have. It's like looking at a giant motorhome. Yeah, I want it. But I don't have the money for it, so why write a bad check?"

The assembly meets at 6 p.m. in Soldotna.