The City of Soldotna lowered its property tax levy rate at Wednesday night’s council meeting.
The rate will go from 0.65 mills to 0.5 mills.
Council member Dale Bagley moved to lower the rate. He said it’s something he thinks the city can afford even with a “very large general fund.”
Council memeber John Czarnezki opposed the change.
“We have a deficit budget, and I don’t think it’s responsible to be decreasing revenues when we’re in the position we’re in,” Czarnezki said. “I think it’s very difficult to have to raise a mill rate later on if we need to. ... I think there’s a value to paying our share or a portion of our share for the services we get.
Council member Pete Sprague was in favor of lowering the rate.
“It’s not a very large amount,” Sprague said. “It won’t have a monumental impact on our fund balance either way. I think this is a way to help the property owners in some small way.”
Council member Brenda Hartman was against the change.
“We’ve decreased the mill rate the last two years,” Hartman said. … “We are paying less than the people outside the city, I don’t see that it hurts us to go a year with not decreasing and seeing where we stand. In a year, if we look at it again, we can always decrease it.”
The vote on lowering the mill rate was evenly split with Bagley, Sprague and council member Nancy Eoff for the change. Czarnezki, Hartman and council member Regina Daniels opposed the change. Mayor Nels Anderson broke the tied with a vote for lowering the rate. The amended resolution passed.
City Manager Mark Dixson said he has discussed the mill rate with residents, and he estimates about half the people he talked to are in favor of the change and half are against it.
“It’s such a small amount of our entire budget; it’s going to have little effect on the budget at this point,” Dixson said. Right now our sales tax income is strong, so we’re not relying on property taxes for city functions.