Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

The borough assembly adopted the fiscal year 2019 budget after making a few changes to Mayor Charlie Pierce’s original proposal, which had totaled about $81 million.

 

 


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The borough budget debate continues. The borough assembly will have another hearing on next year’s budget when it meets again next week.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly had another lengthy meeting Tuesday night, fine tuning the borough budget. After nixing mayor Charlie Pierce’s proposal to use money from the borough’s land trust fund to help balance the budget, the assembly adjusted some of the other proposals from the administration.

Aaron Bolton/KBBI

 

As the new borough administration continues to look for ways to balance the budget, some of those ideas will have effects in the borough’s cities. City managers, council members and others got together this week to discuss the latest plans from the borough administration.

 

 


Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce’s budget plan took a $4.5 million hit at Tuesday night’s meeting.

 


 

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Among other changes planned for highway travel through Cooper Landing, a speed limit change could also be on the horizon.

 

If the final picture of what next year’s borough budget will look like isn’t clear, at least the points of debate are coming into focus.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stage continues to be set for a debate over the borough budget. Mayor Charlie Pierce introduced an ordinance recently that he says would balance the borough’s $4 milion budget gap and when the assembly meets in Seward next week, it will take up an amendment to that ordinance.

 

 


State of Alaska

After more than a year of legal wrangling, the borough’s invocation policy was center stage for oral arguments in Alaska Superior Court Wednesday. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran spoke with Peninsula Clarion reporter Elizabeth Earl, who was in court Wednesday to hear the arguments.


 

Borough mayor Charlie Pierce is working to put together a balanced budget that doesn’t include new taxes. The borough faces a roughly $4 million shortfall for fiscal year 2019. The assembly was set to vote on a pair of items Tuesday night intended to fill that gap, but that won’t happen until next month when the assembly gets a first official look at the mayor’s budget.

 


 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly said no once again to putting a bed tax on the fall ballot. Opponents didn’t vote the proposal down because it’s a tax. It’s just not the right tax.

 

 


The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved with unanimous consent last week a resolution supporting the accelerated passage of the education bill in the Alaska State Legislature this year.

“What that is, we’re going to this resolution, if it passes, to the legislators saying, ‘Hey, if you can get us early funding in so we don’t have to lay teachers off, or pink slip teachers, before the budget process, it would be a great help to us,” said Assemblyman Brent Hibbert.

For years, the Cooper Landing Gun Club has been looking for a new home. Its current location on Bean Hill Road is the oldest organized shooting range in the state.


You see the strangest things sometimes while scrolling through official documents, such as the School Revenue Projects, Fund 400, that was in Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce’s report to the assembly last week.

It’s a list of account balances for projects of things in borough schools that need replacing, fixing or removing. And tucked among sidewalk repair and locker replacement, there’s “Bat Removal.”

“Well, we had, we had some bat infestation at a couple facilities,” said Scott Griebel, the director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough maintenance department.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has been in office about three months now. So, as we get into the annual process of putting together a budget, how are things going? Are the conservative philosophies candidate Pierce ran on playing well with the realities of local government?

 

 

Last month’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island meant different things to different people on the Kenai Peninsula, and it all depended on where they lived. In areas closer to the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska, it meant evacuation to high ground, while in the Central Peninsula, it was a midnight diversion, something to post about on Facebook for a few days.

For the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, it was the time to swing into high gear to warn residents in vulnerable areas of possible tsunami danger.

 

Ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting, the Kenai Peninsula borough assembly and the school board got together for a joint work session on the school district budget.

 

The annual process of putting together the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District budget is underway.

 

There are some service area boards around the borough that have had a tough time finding enough members. Sometimes finding enough members to simply conduct business.

A few years ago residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough went to the polls and said they would like to have animal control, which currently is only provided by certain organized cities. The voters also said they wanted it basically for free.

Since that time, animals, mostly dogs, have continued to roam freely in the unincorporated areas of the borough, which occasionally leads to citizens asking the borough assembly to finally do something about it. Last week it was Amanda Berg of Kenai who spoke up during citizen comments.

At Tuesday night's (Oct. 31) Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, a 7th-grader from Kachemak Selo urged the borough to do something about her deteriorating school.

Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council

  On the same night an ordinance to institute a 6 percent bed tax peninsula-wide was introduced, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly heard a report from the executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council on how they and that industry is doing.

"All signs are pointing to the positive," said an enthusiastic Summer Lazenby. "I can't give an exact tourism update at this point because historically it's been sales tax data that is used to define whether or not it's been a good tourism season or not."

 


What does it take to stick around in Alaska politics for three decades?

It's municipal election day on the Kenai Peninsula, indeed in most of Alaska. Borough residents, depending on where they live, face a variety of choices on the ballot, however, everyone in the borough will be voting on who will be our new mayor. Three candidates are running: Dale Bagley, Linda Farnsworth Hutchings, and Charlie Pierce are all hoping for 50-percent-plus-one vote to avoid a costly run-off election between the top two vote-getters.

This week, we talk with one of the candidates running for Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in District 5 (Sterling/Funny River), Leslie Morton. The other candidate in the race, Norm Blakely, declined our interview to be a part of the program.

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