ECON 919

 

This week, getting to know the latest advocacy group trying to leave its mark on Alaska’s energy sector.

 


 

This week: the borough’s land trust fund. It was a bit of a political football last year. Sitting with around $7.5 million, there was some interest in using that account to fund education or balance the borough budget or both. Those efforts from borough administration failed to get past the assembly.

 


    The Kenai City Council passed a resolution this week — after much debate and many amendments — essentially supporting Assemblyman Dale Bagley’s latest attempt to have a bed tax approved, first by the assembly, and then the voters.

Former Kenai City Councilman Duane Bannock, now associated with the Uptown Motel, came before the council to express his extreme displeasure over Bagley’s proposal and the city’s potential support. 

 

It was Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday. Since 2007, the first Tuesday in May has been set aside to shine a light on the slowly, but steadily growing ag industry in the state.

 

 


It’s not super rare around the Kenai, but a home sale of a million dollars does get ones’ attention. That tidbit came up during our semi-regular talk with Marti Pepper, an independent agent with Redoubt Realty, who dropped by the studios to go over the first quarter of 2019.

“Okay, so what's interesting in the first quarter, which is January through March, the central Peninsula, the average sales price of a home went up by about $12,000. in Anchorage, it went down. And in the lower Kenai, Seward, Homer it went down. 

 

The city of Soldotna has wrestled with how to handle the new industry in city limits since voters statewide approved commercial and recreational uses back in 2014.

 

 


  The snow is all but gone and salmon are already lining up to take your lure — yes, it’s springtime on The Kenai, and that means the start of … construction season. But that’s not why we’re hear today, we’re here to learn about the economics of outdoor recreation, that other thing we do in the summer. 

 

Alaska has a long history of agriculture, but it’s always lingered in the background behind fishing and more recently, oil and gas as a mainstay in the economy. The governor’s proposed budget includes numerous cuts that would affect agriculture across the state and could even make some parts of the ag economy go away altogether.

 

 


 

When the State of Alaska approved on-site consumption of marijuana in cannabis stores, it shifted the onus to local municipalities, which can choose to further regulate it. This week the Kenai City Council took the first steps to do just that, tasking the city attorney with drawing up a draft ordinance and looping in the planning and zoning commission.

But some members and at least one store owner aren’t convinced on-site consumption is going to be the next big thing, despite Alaska being the first state to legalize it.

 

This week: small business assistance through...your local library. Let’s say you run a small business and it’s time to really spiff it up: logos, website, all the stuff a brand needs. But, that’s not your thing. And farming it out isn’t in the books. That’s where a new program through many of Alaska’s public libraries, including three on the Peninsula, come in.

 

 


 

This week, we spin the microphone around so to speak, and take a look at what Governor Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal for public broadcasting would look like here at KDLL.

 

 


 

This week: The Census. Since 1790, the federal government has taken a head count of sorts, in its decennial census. The data that come from the census decide voting districts, but also have a real economic impact, especially in Alaska, says Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Executive Director Tim Dillon. He’s part of the group that will work to organize taking the census on the Peninsula next year.

 


 

Work continues apace on an expansion project at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna updating the obstetrics wing and adding a catheterization lab. Planning began on the project more than two years ago.

 

 


Part two of our preview of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District's Industry Outlook Forum, which will be held Wednesday in Homer.

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Outlook Forum is coming up on Jan. 9. Presented by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, the forum will be held in Homer this year. I spoke with K-PEDD's executive director Tim Dillon about the day-long gathering.

 

Where can you go to smoke a little cannabis? That was a question tackled this week by the state Marijuana Control Board.

 

 


 

Education funding. It’s the single biggest expense for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and paying those costs with current levels of revenue is getting more and more difficult. Last year, the school district ran a deficit of about $2 million. That could be the case again this year, with a projected deficit between $1.3 million.

 

 


 

The 2018 fishing season didn’t leave many positives to look back on, and in fact, presented some new challenges. The borough assembly joined the city of Kenai and the city of Homer in requesting a formal disaster declaration for the 2018 salmon season, including commercial and sport fisheries and related businesses.

 

 


 

Winona LaDuke is perhaps best known for her two campaigns for Vice President on the Green Party ticket with Ralph Nader. But when she’s not running for office, being a water rights activist or giving lectures at Kenai Peninsula College, she’s working to change the economy where she lives on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota, with a focus on local food and light manufacturing, like processing hemp a business LaDuke is working on now.

 


 

Fiscal Year 2019 began on October 1st. For Tim Dillon, Executive Director at the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, that means a tour, of sorts, around the area, sharing year end financials with city councils and other groups.

 

 


  You know how we all mumble a bit beneath our breath when we see road work ahead and a flagger stopping a long line of cars during road construction season - especially when we’re at the back of the line? Frustrating, yes, and this year it seems to be happening everywhere you turn in the Central Kenai Peninsula. But being glass-half-full kind of people here at public radio, we’re looking for the positive spin, of which there are a surprising number. The most surprising number is: $109 million, which is what’s being spent on state roads in the Central Peninsula.

It’s been nearly 30 years since the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, and mitigation projects that sprang up as a result of the spill are still going on around the state and here on the peninsula. 


 

This week, we’re taking a look at a long-awaited capitol project that voters will decide on during the fall elections. A new school at Kachemak-Selo.

 

 


 

Biking of all stripes is growing in popularity on the Kenai Peninsula. To be fair, it’s happening it lots of other places, too. On the Peninsula, countless volunteer hours have been spent building and maintaining local trails, but infrastructure investment for bike and other multi-use paths is happening, too.

 

 


 

The state’s biggest economic engine, for good or ill, remains oil and gas.

 

 


Pages