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Kenai Council talks personal use fishery

83 percent of all dipnet fishers report living outside Kenai Peninsula Borough

Posted: November 21, 2013 - 8:25pm  |  Updated: November 22, 2013 - 8:31am
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Dipnet fishermen leave the North Beach at the mouth of the Kenai RIver with coolers full of sockeye salmon in July.  Greg Skinner
Greg Skinner
Dipnet fishermen leave the North Beach at the mouth of the Kenai RIver with coolers full of sockeye salmon in July.

With the end of the year looming, Kenai Council members set January dates to review its 2013 Dipnet Report and talked about their capital improvement project priorities.

Prior to those meetings, however, council members will hear from the finance department on its Comprehensive Annual Finance Review and were promised a draft version of the dipnet report by early next week.

From a finance perspective, city administration debuted some new accounting of dipnet revenue and expenditures alongside information on who was using the busy personal use fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River.

According to a draft version of the finance department’s portion of the 2013 dipnet summary, the city asked participants to give a mailing zip code.

Nearly 93% of all fee paying participants volunteered the information and the resulting data shows Kenai residents to make up about 5% of the total usage of the fishery with 17% being from zip codes in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Also new this year, was a separate accounting of dipnet money raised through city fees and how each department spent money to handle the personal use fishery.

Finance director Terry Eubank said he was the primary driver behind the move to separate dipnet money from the city’s general fund as accounting for expenditures had been difficult at the end of the year.

Having a new personal use fishery fund code meant department heads did not have to remember which equipment they bought to support the fishery after the season, Eubank said.

The city council adopted a budget projecting $483,152 in revenue and expenditures for the FY2014 Personal Use Fishery Fund, however an additional $233,000 was appropriated by the state for capital projects improvements.

Actual revenue was closer to $440,000 — or about $43,000 less than projected — and expenditures are projected to leave about $1200 in the fund.

Several improvements to the fishery were made using capital projects funds including the purchase of a new tractor and rake, an ATV, and Meeks Trail Repair.

Another primarily state-funded expenditure was a $46,000 installation of permanent power at the Dunes Road, Old Cannery Road and North Beach shacks to accompany a new point of sale system which — among other things — accepts credit cards and also emails Kenai Dispatch for a cash pick-up when the cash level in the fee shack reaches preset limits, according to the draft report.

The city also installed phones at each of the shacks and video cameras to provide the Kenai Police Department views of traffic at the City Dock and North Beach, according to the report.

The city council set a meeting on Jan. 6 at 6p.m. to go over the report.

During his city manager’s report, Rick Koch said he had been meeting with people from the state government — including the governor’s chief of staff— to discuss capital issues.

“It’s an election year,” Koch said. “They tend to fluff up capital budgets in election years.”

But, while the city may see funding for the upcoming fiscal year, Koch said it did not look as though capital project money was going to be high on the legislature’s priority list in the coming years.

“I think the following year it’s going to be a bit of a free fall,” he said.

One of the city’s requests is for the legislature to re-appropriate funding for bluff erosion mitigation in the city,” Koch said.

“We have three years of state appropriations for bluff erosion, totalling $4 million,” he said.

However, this year is the first year that money appropriated toward erosion mitigation will hit its five-year limit. Koch said the city administration would stay on top of re-appropriation requests to make sure the city was still able to spend the money once a bluff erosion project was ready to move forward.

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com

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beaverlooper
3181
Points
beaverlooper 11/23/13 - 04:42 pm
2
0
sales tax?

I have always wondered why the enormous increase in sales tax (stores ,restaurants etc)is never mentioned in the revenue collected during dip net season.They sure have a lot more customers.

rwhobby
201
Points
rwhobby 11/24/13 - 09:00 am
1
0
Dip net

The city of Kenai has been living high on the hog from the dip net fishery. I think there should be a third party over seeing the cities actions. I have read the reports for the last 10 yrs, new lawn mowers, new ATV's every year, cop pick-up, the list goes on, than want people to volunteer to help clean up the mess, but the city employees are getting over time that's wrong.
Where does the sales tax go? Into city other funds? The dip net fishery is out of control, but the city does not care cause it's money for them to buy extra stuff.

Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 11/24/13 - 01:52 pm
1
0
Where DOES all that money go?

I too would love to know where the piles of money spent by dipnetters goes. I keep hearing about how good this fishery (which was introduced into an already fully allocated fishery that benefits my communtiy greatly) is for my city and local economy. But I can tell you as a small business owner, I see a large part of my revenue come year-round from commercial fishermen, processors, B&B and guide/lodge owners, boatbuilders, sea/air charter businesses, etc. I have not seen an influx of business from dipnetters. Given the crowding on the highways, beaches, at the boat launch, gas stations, and two or three mega-box stores, my conclusion is that while most try to streamline and spend as little as possible hear since prices are cheaper in Anchorage, what revenue the Peninsula does see from dipnetting comes in the form of launch fees, beer, gas, and diaper bills that benefit government and large corporations much more than the people of this communtity.

What do I get out of dipnetting? The sound of some jerk's thunderjet pounding down the river at 4am, the same guy cutting me off on Bridge Access while I'm on my way to work then giving me the finger, and millions of pounds of poorley filleted fish carcasses on MY beach for my dog to roll in.

Yeah, the local community is just enamored with the dipnet fishery and what it's done for us.

Kenai
65
Points
Kenai 11/25/13 - 08:56 am
1
1
Hey, you could ask them...

rwhobby and Roger104,
The two of you are wondering aloud in the comments section of a website. If you really wondered where the money went or how it was accounted for, why don't you pick up a phone, call City Hall, and ask someone? This entire article explains where the money goes and references a report that would include the answers to all of your questions. How many of the previous dipnet reports have you read? Will you read the one that's about to come out for the 2013 fishery?

Don't wonder; inform yourselves.

rwhobby
201
Points
rwhobby 11/25/13 - 09:03 am
1
0
Money

I know where the money has went, I have read the reports. I believe there is misuse of funds from the fishery.

Kenai
65
Points
Kenai 11/25/13 - 01:13 pm
1
1
With This Knowledge

And with this knowledge, have you brought this to the attention of your elected officials or confronted the city with it? Or are your conclusions best suited to reside in the Clarion comments?

beaverlooper
3181
Points
beaverlooper 11/25/13 - 03:42 pm
1
0
sales tax

This article says nothing about sales tax money.It talks about fees and state appropriations.
As far as asking the city about extra sales tax money you must not have much experience getting a strait answer from city employees. They have their own agenda and they do love their toys .
.

Alaskaborn
49
Points
Alaskaborn 11/25/13 - 04:51 pm
1
0
Paying the fee versus using the fishery

The article only collected data supplied from people who paid at the fee collection booths. This does not reflect everyone who actually participates in the fishery. ADF&G personal use fishery report shows that 25% of the permit issued are to Kenai Peninsula residents. What the fee collection booth data shows is that nonlocals are footing the bill for the fishery while locals primarily access the fishery without going through the fee collection booths.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FDS10-89.pdf

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