With little fuss and no discussion, the Soldotna City Council passed the $5.3 million fiscal year 2001 budget at its regular meeting Wednesday night.
With the passing of the budget, the city has a brand new Parks and Recreation Department.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Pete Sprague, a former city council member, talked about the proposed new department during public comment.
"I see adopting a parks-rec department as a sign of a maturing city," he said.
The new department will be headed by Andrew Carmichael, who oversees the Soldotna Sports Center and the park fees and administration.
Dealing with the revenue side of the budget, the council adopted a resolution setting the property tax rate. The rate for the upcoming fiscal year will be 1.65 mills -- or $165 on a $100,000 home -- the same as it has been for six years.
Council member David Carey said he was disappointed there were not members of the public at the meeting to discuss the budget or the property tax rate.
"It does not speak well that people do not come out and speak to us about what they want," he said.
In other council news:
n The council passed resolutions awarding contracts to repair the city maintenance shop roof and to finish painting the street markings.
The roof contract was awarded to Chumley's Urethane Inc. of Sterling and is valued at $32,475. The street contract was awarded to Asphalt Marking Services of Soldotna and is valued at $5,600.
n Two ordinances were given their first reading and had public hearings set for the next council meeting on June 14.
One will adopt a budget for the East Redoubt paving project, and the other would amend the sign code to allow aerial signs to be aloft for 55 days a year.
n The groundskeeping contract with Booth Landscaping was renewed for another year.
n The liquor license for Birch Ridge Golf Course was renewed.
n The Soldotna Police Department received permission to sell its old radar guns and trade no longer used firearms for newer ones.
One of the 10 radar guns will be donated to the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association.
n Carmichael announced that the Rotary Park, Soldotna Creek Park and the visitors center area will be closed during the early morning hours to discourage overnight camping, which is not allowed in those areas.
n The council awarded $5,000 to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce to cover remaining costs of producing a promotional video.
n Bill Holt, the Skyview High School community schools liaison, and five Skyview students spoke with the council about the viability of establishing a skateboard park within city limits.
Holt also presented the publication of the Skyview Poetry Club, entitled "Angst in Color."
n The winner of the library's Joyce M. Carver Memorial Scholarship was presented to the council.
Anya Dale, a student at Soldotna High School, won the $2,000 scholarship. She will attend Western Washington University in the fall.
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