Kenai to consider $13.3 mil budget

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kenai's City Council will consider a $13.3 million budget Wednesday night that reflects only a few changes from city administration's original proposed budget.

Drafting the budget required working around increased health care costs, and includes some capital projects in addition to maintaining city services.

The main capital project is street light work in Central Heights subdivision, which Mayor Pat Porter and City Manager Rick Koch both said was much needed.

The budget also has room for a few new employees.

At its May 9 budget work session, the council agreed that a technology employee would be a smart addition.

"I support it," said councilman Joe Moore. "The city will run a lot smoother being proactive than reactive."

Councilman Ryan Marquis also noted that the position would help reduce expenditures on outside contracts for tech support.

The budget also includes two part-time library aides, two seasonal gardeners, and an additional employee to work for the streets department and at the city dock. The proposed budget also allows for a temporary, part-time data entry position to be turned into a permanent job, and one accounting technician position would be reclassified.

At a work session May 9, the council asked administration to add money to the budget to fund the first phase of trail work and provide money to a few local agencies including the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club and Central Area Rural Transit System.

The trail work will be based on a multi-year plan currently being put together. The exact funding will depend on how the health care costs pencil out, but will likely be less than $20,000.

Carol Bannock, the chamber's executive director, testified and asked the council to provide funding for the chamber.

"These events benefit lots of people, bring lots of people into our city," she said.

Although Bannock has asked the council to increase its support from last year, the council decided to fund the chamber at the same level - $2,500 for the Fourth of July celebration and $3,500 for Christmas comes to Kenai.

The council also asked administration to include $2,500 for the CARTS program in the budget that comes before them this week.

"They can leverage that for a lot," said councilman Bob Molloy.

The council also agreed that it wants to provide funding for the Boys and Girls Club in some way, and asked city administration to see what could be done with $10,000 that would help ensure Kenai youth had access to the programs.

Other small-ticket additions to the budget include support for Industry Appreciation Day. The council also asked to strike a few smaller items from the budget, including some duplicate listings of the same items, to help offset their additions.

Molly Dischner can be reached at

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