Update Monday in REVIEW

Tonight June 5, 2017,  between 5 pm and 7 pm we were updated about the  tax increases by the KPB that will be discussed and voted upon tomorrow evening.  The tax increases, without reducing the costs of operation for the borough, are expected to be implemented in the upcoming budget.    We talked about the increase in property tax,  as well the increase in months of sales tax collection.  We also discussed the status of the service area along the Sterling Highway.  Also discussed was the candidates we will see on the ballot in October for Assembly seats.

As a group the conscientious is these is no basis for tax increases.  The .5 mill rate increase on property tax and the increase of months sales are collected are just an effort to maintain the current level of expenses without any effort to reduce those expenses.  The group of us that met tonight are generally opposed to tax increases without serious consideration of reduction in expenses.  Although we understand that much of the operating expenses are driven by long term public employee union contracts both KPB employees and KPBSD employers, without considerable research there is no clarity as to what can actually be reduced. The three main budget drivers are the KPBSD and KPB employee contracts as well as the increase in cost of doing business generally.

It was mentioned tonight that the general public will have opportunity to question the borough administration about these increases tomorrow night at the KPB Assembly meeting as well as, June 14 at the Kenai/Soldotna Chamber of Commerce at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center there on the Spur Highway.  An RSVP would be good as there is limited space, so get on board early to ask the questions you have.

Considerable thought was put into discussion about candidates for KPB assembly seats we will see on the October ballot.  There is need to find a candidate to run from the Sterling area.  There are candidates or incumbents for most of the other seats but not for the Sterling seat. If you think of anyone, please encourage them to become involved

 

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“Republicans Eat Their Young”

There is a challenge in understanding this statement.  Just a hint – it has nothing to do with age.  It starts with defining the word “young” in the political sense of the word.  What this means, is rather than encouraging and nurturing those “young in experience” people interested in serving in elected government, Republicans chew them up and spit them out, essentially eating them.

Those folks “young in experience” are those people who have been willing to learn and study the issues and the procedures at more grass root levels before they jump into the deep end of the pool.  Several of our local politicians have been touted as serving on this local committee and that city commission.  These politicians are also touted as having served on city councils and as city mayors before they ventured out into races covering larger geographical areas and serving greater responsibilities.

Well, as these politicians learned and practiced at the city and borough levels; and networks and word of mouth a valuable commodities, one might expect with all this local experience and “on the job” training, they could count on a “leg up” from those politicians who have previously traveled this route of education and experience.

However, with the Republican Party this is not the case.  It is the practice of Republicans to discount and negate the efforts of those people coming up behind them; essentially destroying the possibilities and potential of those “young in experience” following along behind.   I have been told, the Democratic party does not do this to their up and comers. But might actually support and encourage them.  Could this true??

It could be imagined that at a minium the more experienced politican would vote for  the “young, new in experience” community servant.  But to openly profess to others an unwillingness to support another person working on  behalf of the same political platform.  Well, folks, that is in a nutshell the Republican Party Eating Their Young.

Then comes the Spin!!   The excuse – well those grass-roots contests are non-partisan so whoever is supported is of no consequence.  Having a designation of non-partisan for local Borough elections is definitely true at this point in time.  I, for one, would like to know the why and wherefore of that practice.  Keeping the local contests as non-partisan, without being able to identify the motives and values of these public servants, does not serve the local voter.

Therefore, the local voter  is left to past history (years in the legislature) and voting record (supporting $2.4M in bed tax) and open assembly statements (increasing tax on seniors) to recognize the blue color of the ethics of the local politican.  So when one partisan politican openly expresses an intention to vote in a non-partisan race for someone of the other party, the ethics of that partisan politican are severely called into questions and that partisan politican can be considered as having “eaten his young.”

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culvert costs/overruns

Currently, as you may or may not be aware Beaver Loop is closed due to a culvert replacement being done by the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF). This is a fairly large project, not unlike replacement of the culvert under Kenai Spur Highway (KSH). I recall that work being done and the extent of the construction efforts. I do not recall however, how long that project took. I also do not know whether the contractor doing Beaver Loop is the same as the earlier project on KSH.

I did not realized until I read it online the Beaver Loop project is a KWF project. I inaccurately assumed since the State of Alaska is making plans to upgrade Beaver Loop, the state was doing this work; actually I thought this project had to do with water main piping, not just a culvert.

All that being said I read yesterday in a couple of places online that this Beaver Loop project would be done “soon” (Robert Ruffner); or “a few weeks” (Rick Cook); or as learned today, they are not sure when!! The foreman did tell me they have removed the expected completion dates from the reader signs.

The original time frame was 5/21 – 6/11. Now there is no completion date. Now the first thing that comes to my mind is not fishing traffic (Rick Cook), but the cost overruns for all the additional time, particularly the labor. So I ask the foreman about this!

He explained there would be no cost over runs; he would have to eat it himself. I replied, “What you have no contract with the government?” He said his contract for a set amount with KWF.

Now the structural and logistical explanations given in the online interviews for the delay did not reassure me regarding an expected completion date; the expected completion date only concerns because there will be the expectation to recoup those overrun costs.

From where will KWF expect to recoup those funds? The city – because the city water main is included in the project and Cook has oversight, “addressing pubic concerns” input. The state- because the road is currently the responsibility of the state, and they have limited funds for the upcoming upgrade. The borough or federal government – because most of KFW funds are grants from government agencies; or because KWF and KPB are funding buddies?

I think this is a legitimate question!

Election District 29 and 30

Election District 29 (part of Soldotna, Sterling, Nikiski and Seward) and District 30 (the City of Kenai from out near Wildwood and down KSH toward Soldotna and along Kalifornsky Beach Road) wll meet tonight at 6 p.m. at Paradisos Resturant in Kenai to get updated on where we are in the election season before the August primary.

This is the place where people can get involved.  We are all interested in, or we talk alot about, how unhappy we are with things in the local, state and national government. Well, this is the place to get involved. First we have to learn about how things work, how each of us fit in and what exactly needs to be done.  After taking advantage of the previous work done by others, it is pretty easy to step into some aspect of help making a change. 

Now there is a cost; however the good thing is – it is not a huge cost and it is not a truly signifcant cost when you compare that cost to the price that was paid to orignally set up the liberties we currently enjoy or the cost paid each year by young men who fight and give their lives for the liberties we are discussing.

So come out and learn some of what is happening.

Beginning Again

I had started a blog on another site; but when I came back it was gone. I really think a local blog is very important.  We do not have one here on the Kenai Peninsula and there are many items of news that I think would be of interest to people. 

As a more than moderately active voter on the Kenai Peninsula, I am interested in seeing more people become informed voters and getting out to vote. Therefore, because this is a critical year for elections to The United States Congress and the United States Senate, especially for the State of Alaska; this blog is the next natural step.