Soldotna joins other cities with budget statement

Mar 28, 2019


Credit City of Soldotna

Like so many municipalities around the state, the Soldotna city council approved a resolution at its meeting Wednesday night asking the legislature and the governor take another look at his budget proposal.

Whereas the city of Kenai and the borough both had specific budget items in mind in their resolutions, Soldotna’s is a bit more broad. Introduced by Mayor Nels Anderson, it’s similar to a resolution the council passed three years ago under then-Mayor Pete Sprague, essentially requesting that the state put together a long-term financial plan that addresses both spending and revenue.

“It is intended to restate our position, and I hope the council agrees to it," Anderson said. "In addition to this, the intent would be that (the city manager) and I would write a letter outlining specifics in terms of the effect on the community, for example, a $10 million loss to the hospital, which employes 880 people here.”

Council member Lisa Parker introduced a substitute resolution that removed some language asking the legislature and governor to look at specific revenue options like a statewide income or sales tax.  

“I’m not advocating that we maintain the status quo. I do believe that we need to look at ways to partner with the borough, with the city of Kenai, with (the) state department of transportation and other organizations and that we look to identify efficiencies and that we do operate and work smart.”

Parker’s substitute was adopted, but council member Jordan Chilson wanted to get the tax language back in with another amendment.

“I’m not advocating for any specific form of broad based tax, I just think we shouldn’t be ruling it out. It’s something that I think is going to be important to a balanced state budget and if we can look at sharing that load with people that are visiting our state, whether that be a state based sales tax, that might be an important part of the equation. I think we should support that. I just don’t believe we’re going to be able to cut our way out of this entirely.”

That amendment failed, but ultimately with some fine tuning of the language which includes a generic reference to new revenues, the resolution was adopted unanimously.