As expected, the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday got its first look at the city’s budget for the coming year and scheduled public hearings on the budget for May 10 and May 24.
The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, 2007.
The proposed operating budget is $10 million, which includes $1.5 million that is being transferred to capital and $600,000 to other funds, according to City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Additionally, $1.1 million has been identified as capital or grant-funded projects.
The budget ordinance introduced Wednesday recommends using 75 percent of the city’s sales tax for operations and 25 percent for capital projects, rather than the two-thirds, one-third ratio currently in place, to allow the city to continue providing services at the current level.
At the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission, the council approved rezoning a lot in the Iris Subdivision, where a new $11 million Community Health Center building is to be built.
The rezone eliminates a split zone of the property that would have precluded Community Health from putting in a needed parking lot. The new 31,000 square-foot building will house Cottonwood Health Center, Central Peninsula Health Center’s administrative offices and Central Peninsula Counseling Services.
The facility will be on East Marydale Avenue at Tyee Street.
The council also authorized awarding a $98,875 contract to North Star Paving and Construction Inc. for improvements at the city’s waste water treatment plant.
Work will include site preparation, construction of a concrete drainage area and retaining wall and asphalt paving around the plant.
A contract also was awarded to Endries Company for repairing the exterior walls of the Soldotna police station.
The $42,500 contract is for re-caulking and applying new stucco to the side of the building.
Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael told the council his department will be out “full bore” beginning this week to clean up and repair city parks in advance of the coming summer recreation season.
He described a new boardwalk at the former Department of Transportation and Public Facilities property as “monstrously phenomenal.” He said the elevated boardwalk along the river is just over 1/2 mile long.
At the close of the council meeting, Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking Jr. and Officer Tony Garcia invited council members to take a spin in a go cart recently donated to the city for use in teaching school students about drunk driving.
Several council members donned goggles that give the wearer the sensation of being impaired by alcohol, and then attempted to maneuver the go cart through pylons set up in the city hall parking lot.
Garcia said the program has been very successful at Soldotna High School, where it was introduced a year ago using a borrowed electric golf cart.
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