A road improvement program launched by a 1997 ordinance that permits the borough to cover up to a quarter of the cost of paving gravel roads has so far been applied only once.
In an effort to improve that record, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is considering proposed amendments that would boost the borough's construction match from 25 percent to as much as 50 percent for local or internal subdivision roads, and up to 70 percent for collector streets.
A road service area mill levy increase put into effect in fiscal year 2003 (the current rate is 1.5 mills, or $150 a year for a $100,000 home) has increased revenue to the service area.
Thus, additional funding is available for increasing the matches for future road improvement assessment districts, or RIADs, according to the borough.
Ordinance 2004-11, sponsored by Mayor Dale Bagley, was introduced Tuesday at the borough assembly meeting. A public hearing has been scheduled for May 18.
In a memo to the assembly, borough attorney Colette Thompson said there is good reason for the higher match of up to 70 percent for collector roads, even though property owners along them would get a better deal than residents living along local roads who would get a 50 percent match.
"While the lot owners abutting collector roads are clearly benefited by a RIAD project, a collector road is also subject to much greater use than a local or internal subdivision road, justifying a greater match by the borough," she said.
Paving subdivision and collector roads resolves drainage problems, reduces maintenance costs and provides greater convenience for residents, the borough said. Paving collector roads is "particularly advantageous" for the road service area because they are so heavily used. It is expected that providing a higher match for collector roads will enhance the chances residents will agree to form RIADs.
Assessment districts are initiated by land owners by petition. The only RIAD thus far accomplished involved a subdivision in the Kalifornsky Beach area.
Under existing law, borough investment on any particular RIAD may not exceed $2 million per year, according to borough Finance Director Scott Holt.
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