Borough health care benefits will affect tax burden

Mayor Mike Navarre believes Borough employees are entitled to an increase to $20,000 per year for health care premiums paid by local taxpayers. The Mayor recently introduced KPB Ordinance 2011-19-82, which is set for a single public hearing on May 15. If approved by our Borough Assembly, everybody will pay additional taxes to support this increase in employee benefits, in order to balance the FY 2013 Borough budget.

I think the Assembly needs to survey private sector health care premiums before making this important decision. If employees at Radio Shack, BP, NBA, Safeway and Arby's have similar employer paid benefits, then it's certainly appropriate for government workers too. After all, it is the dedicated, hard working employees from private sector businesses who pay the wages and benefits for Borough employees. It is only right that compensation packages be similar.

Contact the Mayor and Assembly to share your feelings. Our representative government needs to hear from the taxpayers, who must shoulder these significant increases. They have already heard from Borough employees and their unions. During the 2011 Mayor's campaign Terry Bookey placed a YouTube ad on the Kenai Peninsula Employees Association web site stating: "Vote YOUR paycheck, Vote Mike Navarre!" It's clear that the union's position is fully understood by our Mayor, who is proposing this increase.

Now it is your turn to speak out. Contact information for your Mayor and Assembly can be found at: http://www.borough.kenai.ak.us. You can speak up now or you can prepare to write a bigger tax check in July and forever more.

The choice is yours.

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