05/15/17 Update Monday

05/16/17 Tonight’s KPB Assembly agenda discussion included:

1 – property assessment dollar amounts.

2 – an increase in the mill rate of the taxes on those properties;

3 – swapping with a local property owner of parcels of land benefiting both parties;

4 – the construction of a school at Kachmack-Selo and how that would work considering the number of students in the school, the condition of the current school and the current ownership situation;

5 – how to pay for a corridor service area along the Sterling Highway to the Seward  turn off.

The property assessments by KPB has increased the value of property here in the KPB by approximately $425M.

One of the items on the KPB agenda tomorrow night will a request for funds to hire legal staff to assist the KPB assessing department to defend the above mentioned increased assessment.

The possible increase of KPB property taxes by half a mill on those recently assessed properties will certainly generate a lot of money to the KPB. More than likely the sell for the increase in the mill levy in these properties will be the threat of reduced funds from the State of Alaska. It will likely also be outlined by the borough mayor how important it is to be prepared for the shortfall that is sure to come.

At the last KPB assembly meeting, an amendment was made to the budget of the KPB school district. This amendment would reduce the amount of funds from KPB asssembly for the school by amount $1M. This reduction was in light of the consideration that the State of Alaska and the KPB have not finalized their own budgets. Every year it is expected that the State and the KPB will have the details available for finalizing their budgets before the schools brings this budget for funding approval.

 The land swap benefitted the KPB by providing land access to the property and the other party access to the beach.  A equitable swap and to the benefit of both parties.

The construction of a school at Kachemack-Self was discussed for the editification of a guest to our group.  As Wayne Ogle will be traveling to the area on Thursday, we will have more of an idea on that situation at the June 5 meeting.

Stan Welles provided his recently developed idea on paying for the service area corridor along the Sterling Highway.  Stan explained the amount of money expected to be needed for the service area is almost exactly the same as the funds for KPTMC, a non government agency funded by the borough.  Since the funding of NGO is a continual bond of contention, it was considered a valid suggestion. The funding for this project, this service area, is expected to be moved around from Federal PELT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds.  This project has become an issue from the health case task force and is pending until the state legislature finalizes authority to do this.

 

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Welcome to 2015

I am back!!   Cannot believe my errant ways!  In any case I am back, with a renewed commitment to make this a regular meeting with you.

To get things kicked off, January has had a wonderful start.   Just a couple of highlights and then to dive into the meat of the issues;

On January 5, the Monday Update met at Paradisos in Kenai, AK, and had a great meeting discussing issues coming up during 2015, to name a few:

  • marijuana, soon to have government regulations for citizen to obey;
  • Alaska state budget and the new Governor Walker’s campaign promise to cut the budget by 16%;
  • property rights, possible partial repeal of government control of lake and streamside property;
  • sales tax, government tactics to continue to charge sales tax on food year around;
  • re – election of speaker John Bohner, Tuesday vote by US House of Representative to re-election RINO Boehner;
  • KPB assembly people terming out of office, the ongoing effort to have input into the temperament of the KPB assembly.

Many very good topics and many inspired and involved people took part in the discussion.

Joining us was Alaska State House of Representative Speaker Mike Chennault, who was able to give a little insight into some of the above listed topic.  It appears a considerable amount of time may be spent by the State Legislature on sifting out the regulations that will government to newly sprouted marijuana industry.  We discussed recent legislative efforts in other states around this subject and how that experience will factor into decisions to be made the Alaska State legislature.  Perhaps by the middle of February, Alaskans will see results of marijuana legislation, as well as a projected budget by the new governor.

There is expectation that a cut of the budget by 16% will be difficult to accomplish, but Governor Walker is fresh to us from the private sector and undoubtedly has numerous ideas and idea people on how that will get done.  This will be interesting to watch, considering the wonderful “at the pump” price of gas we have all enjoyed, actually accomplishing his campaign promise may be more difficult than he imagined.

The group discussion moved on to property rights and the continuing interest in scaling back government’s grab of streamside property. When streamside property right were last considered and enacted into law many different considerations were part of it.  Now following the KPB Assembly election in October, 2014, there is likely renewed in the protection of property rights along the streams.  This will undoubtedly be an interesting discussion that will evolve over the upcoming month.  How that express go: “developing”,  perhaps not trending, but at least developing.

The discussion then took up the issue of sales tax on food and the government entitled that can charge sales tax and whether it is done on a season basis.  The difference between a General Law city (currently Soldotna) and a Home Rule city (Kenai, Homer and Seward) is a very interesting discussion for those interested local government and who gets to created the law that rule YOU and how that authority is allocated to those governing bodies.   This is sort of “into the weeds”, so we can come back to that before the Soldotna special election on February 3, 2014.

Depending on how much awareness is out there on the issue of the US House of Representative, Tuesday, January 6, Speaker John Boehner, thought by many to be of RINO (Republican in Name Only), was up for re-election to the position of Speaker of the House.  Well, with the push of many of the country’s conservative voters and interested conservative activists, there were 25 Republican votes again John Boehner and in favor or other career politicians considered to be more conservative and in tune with the will of “we the people”.   For those interested the sole representative of the State of Alaska, was in California on a family emergency mission stemming from the death of his 84-year-old brother.   So, it follows he was not present to vote for or again John Boehner; however, not sure it matter as our sole representation no longer has much influence or sway in political consideration since ethics issues have relieved him of most of his committee responsibilities.

 Moving out some into 2015, now is the time to consider who the people might be to run for KPB assembly in October 2015.  There are three geographical areas of the peninsula that will be on the ballot and those are:

  • Anchor Point area on the road right before Homer, currently represented by Make Haggerty;
  • Kalifornsky Beach area, currently represented by Kelly Wolf;
  • Seward area, currently represented by Sue McClure.

I believe that two of these are actually terming out, that would be Anchor Point and Seward; the last, Kalifornsky Beach is standing for re-election.  Looking at the past objective of changing the temperament of the KPB assembly to a more conservative thinking group, the next step is to find people of a conservative, (less government, less taxes, less intrusion into private lives) mind-set who are willing to run for election to the KPB Assembly and vote for those principles.  It is important to remember that all politics are local; and there have already been votes taken since a push was started to bring more conservative thinking back to the Kenai Peninsula Assembly hat have considerable impact on the lives of each individual.  So please talk with friends and acquaintances from the South Peninsula and Seward to find those people to run.

UPDATE MONDAY – meeting notes JULY 21

MONDAY  July 21

Meeting last night about 12 people contributed to discussion of four issues that will be presented on the KPB Assembly Agenda TONIGHT,  Tuesday,  July 22.  It was a lively discussion well supported by documented facts.

The FIRST ISSUE Ordinance 2014 – 25 – discussed was the Bed Tax (to go on ballot)  subject to voter approval for final decision.  The issue is charging a 4% tax for transient room and other tourism rentals here on the peninsula.   Seward already has a 4%  bed tax and it appears that percentage seemed acceptable to the KPB assemblyman Mr. Bill Smith (Homer) when he brought the ordinance up to the group.

However, there are details contrary to supporting this ordinance:

  • This is funding for KPTMC for which no accountability has been made available;
  • This tax will likely be paid by Alaska residents, perhaps other than Peninsula residents, but Alaska tax payers all the same;
  • As with all taxes this one will likely only increase and never go away;
  • This tax is basically an effort to push the fear of scarcity button, without full knowledge of whether there will budget shortfalls in the future. or opportunities to reduce spending;
  • While an opportunity to create progressive legacy for Mr. Smith (Homer); there are other options for covering the $300K already provided to KPTMC;
  • This increase to the sales tax limit needs to be taken into consideration

The SECOND ISSUE (Ordinance 2014 – 20, AMENDING code; Resolution 2014-44) for ADVISORY from VOTERS)  discussed was the Vote by Mail.  The idea here is this will bring an increase in voter turn out.

However, there are details contrary to supporting this ordinance

  • This will create an increase in the cost generally of voting in the borough;
  • This change in voter procedures creates the opportunity for voter fraud that has not been an issue here on the Peninsula, why create that opportunity now;
  • Going to the polls for voting is the very least we “uninformed couch potatoes” can do in return for this privilege that has been purchased at the cost of life itself;

The THIRD ISSUE (Ordinance 2014 – 24  AMENDING to eliminate)  involves  the idea that it is exceedingly difficult to find someone to write the opposition statement on initiative or referendums on the ballot.

However there are details contrary to supporting this ordinance:

  • This section of the voter pamphlet could be the extent of the research that is done by some voters;
  • These statements provide an opportunity for well thought out information that had not been considered by voters;
  • In my humble opinion, and a position heard in the community, is it is not so difficult to get a statement in support of pro or con as has been offered by the sponsor of this legislation.

The FOURTH ISSUED (Resolution 2014 – 48 modifying mill rate of 2014-45) discussion briefly dealt with the creation/funding of an animal rescue outside certain incorporated cities;

However there are details contrary to supporting this ordinance:

  • This is a tax to be added to the property tax on the first $150,000.00 of property value in the areas outside certain incorporated cities, and will not affect those cities already providing animal services;
  • In my humble opinion, people should not have animals if they are not knowledgeable about how to care for them, either animals small or large;
  • There has been insufficient research done on the subject to determine whether this is  a good fit for the Kenai Peninsula; and without that research this tax collection is an exercise in legislative malpractice;
  • If there is interest among animal owners to have such a service, this should come from those property owners who will be paying, not from a member of the Assembly initiating anther tax on the community.

 

All of above is simply an indication that everyone needs to be involved in the operation of good government.   If each of you has not noticed, there has been a considerable change in the core values of our culture and that includes the Kenai Peninsula.  If you are interested in helping out with something so simple as:

  •  making input to the KPB Assembly use this information and come to the Borough meeting TONIGHT Tuesday, July 22;
  • writing a letter to one of the Assembly Members, or
  • running yourself as a candidate or appointment to any part of the local government, please come to the  UPDATE MONDAY meeting the night before the assembly meetings and LEARN MORE.