Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

 

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

Oil and gas exploration on the southern peninsula has picked up considerably the past several years. Hilcorp has been responsible for much of the activity. The company recently leased nearly 20 acres from the Kenai Peninsula Borough near Anchor Point.

 

The legal fight about the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s invocation policy is over. The assembly had two questions to answer about it last night.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is still grappling with a Superior Court judge’s ruling on its current invocation policy. The ruling deemed that the borough’s policy allowing prayer before assembly meetings excluded minority faiths, therefore violating the state Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

 

 


 

 

 

Times have been tight in recent years. The district has run through most its savings trying to bridge multi-million dollar budget gaps the past three years. At a budget work session with the school board this week, Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said despite cutting administration staff through attrition and other means, cuts in the classroom still loom large.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

In a decision handed down Tuesday, the court found that the borough’s 2016 rewrite of its policy allowing certain people to open assembly meetings with a blessing to be in violation of the Establishment Clause in the constitution.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

It's municipal election day in the Central Kenai Peninsula, and there are plenty of choices on the ballot.

Or not as many, depending on where you live.

For example, both Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblymen Brent Hibbert and Kenn Carpenter, representing Districts 1 and 6 respectively, are running for reelection unopposed.

Willy Dunne is the only one of the three assemblymen with a challenger -- the Homer assemblyman faces Troy Jones in District 9.

The issue of annexation nearly gave Brent Hibbert a challenger for his seat on the borough assembly. On this week's Kenai Conversation, we'll talk about that issue and many more as they relate to Hibbert's run for a full three year term on the assembly.


 

The race for the borough assembly seat in district one, representing the K-Beach area and parts of Kenai and Soldotna, remains uncontested. Brent Hibbert is seeking reelection for a full three year term. He made his way to the assembly in 2016 when Gary Knopp was elected to the House of Representatives. The longtime owner of Alaska Cab Company spoke with KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran this week about his first partial term and what he would like to get done in the next three years.

 

 


 

A pair of write-in candidates are shaking up the general election landscape on the Central Peninsula.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted down a proposed tobacco tax at its meeting Tuesday night.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly could be offering some opinion on annexation proceedings in Soldotna when it meets next.

 

What to do with the nearly $8 million dollars in the borough’s land trust fund was a central question this year as the borough budget was being put together. The mayor’s office wanted to use a portion to help fill the borough’s budget gap, but, the assembly wanted to see a fresh investment plan before the fund was used for general expenditures. That plan has been finalized, and will get a public hearing next week.

 


While the Alaska general election candidate slate will be set on Tuesday, the ballot denizens for the Oct. 2 Kenai Peninsula municipal elections were finalized at 5 p.m. last (Wednesday) night.

And despite always vital and sometimes contentious and divisive debates on the assembly, the people in the districts served by two incumbents have not put forth challengers.

Brent Hibbert of Soldotna and Kenn Carpenter of Seward will run alone for re-election.

Students head back to class next Tuesday in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Let’s get ready with a little math.

At its Aug. 6 meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education approved its fiscal year 2019 budget, which necessitated shaving about $523,000 from expenditures.

Many of the line items represent vacant positions that will not be filled, with duties shifting onto other departments or personnel. This includes $115,500 for a purchasing supervisor, $29,000 in school administration and $120,000 for a district art specialist.

Several school board members voiced heartburn over the loss of the art position.


Tobacco users could be a source of additional revenue to the Kenai Peninsula Borough if the assembly approves an ordinance coming up for consideration.

Borough Assembly Member Willy Dunne, of Homer, would like to impose an excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The measure came before the assembly’s Policies and Procedures Committee on Tuesday. Committee Chair Hal Smalley summarized the proposal.

The filing window for residents interested in serving on local city councils, assemblys, and boards has opened. Candidate filing and nomination packets are available now until August 15 for those interested in running for office.

There are two seats available on the Kenai City Council and three on the Soldotna Council.

 

More than $800,000 in budget vetoes by Mayor Charlie Pierce stand after a special meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Friday night.

 

A special meeting is set for next week regarding borough funding of education and tourism marketing. Borough mayor Charlie Pierce vetoed more than $800,000 in additional borough funding to the school district and the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council.

 

 


 

Increases to the borough budget were vetoed by Mayor Charlie Pierce ahead of Tuesday night’s assembly meeting. Pierce is looking to trim more than $800,000 in funding for education and tourism marketing.

 

 


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. 

Use of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s land trust fund will be debated again at Tuesday’s assembly meeting. Mayor Charlie Pierce had put it at the center of his original budget proposal this spring.

It took a lot of work to get this year's budget through the borough assembly, but there's more work left to do. Despite some budget cuts and a slight bump in property taxes, the borough is still looking at a deficit of close to $2 million. 


Redoubt Reporter

 

Tucked in the $80-plus million budget approved by the borough assembly last week was additional funding to deal with junk vehicles in borough rights away. Assembly member Willy Dunne proposed adding $30,000 to the road service area to address the issue.

 

 


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