Folks showing up for Tuesday evening's once-a-year Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting in Seward will have a chance to speak their minds on a host of subjects, from proposed changes in the tax law to how much the borough gets to spend in fiscal year 2006.
Public hearings are scheduled on no less than 14 ordinances, which could make for a long night on the peninsula's eastern coast.
Among the proposals likely to produce fireworks is Ordinance 2005-05, which would submit to voters this fall the question of whether to impose a 4 percent bed tax on hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast businesses. The proposed tax levy had been 8 percent but the assembly voted to cut it to 4 percent at the April 19 meeting.
Assembly member Chris Moss, of Homer, is expected to introduce an amendment that would further limit the effect of a bed tax on transient accommodations businesses that operate inside cities that also impose a bed tax.
In a memo to the assembly, Moss suggested businesses be exempted from a portion of the borough bed tax equal to what they collect for the cities, up to a maximum of half the amount subject to the borough's tax.
"For example, if the borough were to impose a 4 percent bed tax, and a city in the borough were to impose a 3 percent bed tax, this would authorize an exemption of 2 percent, which is one-half of the borough's bed tax," he said.
Under that scenario, a customer would pay a total of 5 percent in bed tax, including the 2 percent borough tax, plus the 3 percent going to the city.
Also expected to draw heat is Ordinance 2005-09, a measure that would cut the now unlimited property tax exemption on primary residences enjoyed by senior citizens and disabled veterans to the first $200,000 of assessed value. The vast majority of seniors, veterans and others who spoke at previous public hearings in Soldotna were highly critical of the idea, arguing, among other things, that the tax would hurt people on fixed incomes.
Ordinance 2005-19, which would appropriate $60.2 million in borough funds for fiscal year 2006, beginning in July, will get the first of two hearings at the Seward meeting. That sum includes almost $13.8 million for general government operations, and a little over $35 million for schools, plus other, smaller expenditures covering such things as revenue funds, capital projects transfers, insurance and litigation equipment replacement. The budget ordinance will get another hearing May 17 in Soldotna.
In other business, the assembly will take public hearing on these and other measures:
Ordinance 2004-19-47, which would appropriate almost $1.18 million to the road service area capital improvement project fund and redirect $75,000 from previously authorized projects to provide additional funds for new projects.
Ordinance 2004-19-49, which would accept and appropriate a $2 million U.S. Forest Service payment to implement the Spruce Bark Beetle Action Plan.
Ordinance 2005-15, which proposes to place time, place and manner restrictions on sexually oriented businesses in the rural districts of the borough.
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