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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KPB Assembly Meeting June 17

Another interesting meeting of the local KPB assembly. There were a few critical issues before the assembly, a couple of which were addressed here earlier today.

One of those issues was reducing the percentage of votes required for increasing the sale tax cap. There was considerable discussion about the importance of the voice of the voters and the eager willingness of the Assembly to hurry right in and subvert the voice of the people. The majority of the assembly was unwilling to believe there were reasons to wait to make this move. The usual liberal ideas of gathering up the tax dollars whether there is actually a current need for the tax dollars.

Another issue taken up was the assembly voting by mail. After much discussion about
– how it would work;
– how much it would cost;
– various scenarios that might facilitate fraud;
– why borough voting cannot be coordinated with city and state voting to facilitate savings;

It was finally decided to postpone the further discussion and voting to the July 1 meeting and work toward a advisory vote by the people to make preparations for voting by mail.

The next issue up for discussion was putting bed tax onto the ballot for decision by the voter (that the assembly cannot later overturn to their own liking).

By a 8 yes and 1 no vote, the assembly established two public hearings were set for July 1 and July 22. The more discussion that was had the more that was learned by the assembly and ultimately before the voters.

Charles Pierce made a good suggestion to put together a tax task force. He mentioned where do the taxes stop. There needs to be a vision for few taxes for all of the people of the borough. Taxes are an evil process. Just say no when it comes to taxes.

Charles Pierce is so right. We need more people who think like Charlie when it comes to adding tax to the tax payer. Tom Bearup is that person for Borough Mayor. All government is local and tonight Assembly meeting was an example of that.