"I want to thank the council for all the hard work you've done in getting this budget together. Now it gets to be administered, which is also a huge task," said Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey Wednesday night, following the unanimous passage of the city's fiscal year 2002-03 budget by the city council.
Overall, the 2002-03 budget is much the same as last year's. The budget the council approved includes general fund spending in the amount of $5.87 million dollars, roughly $40,000 more than this year.
Boedeker said the city's property taxes will remain the same. However, the council put off setting next year's mill rate until the council's June 12 meeting. Boedeker told the council Soldotna's mill rate would stay the same, 1.65 mills, but he wanted to give the public ample notice of the city's intentions.
The mill rate is equivalent to $165 on a $100,000 piece of property.
The budget passed with little controversy. However, one city project did have its funding level increased, when an amendment was made to add $100,000 to the project extending the city's water and sewer lines along Kalifornsky Beach Road to its intersection with West Endicott Drive.
City Manager Tom Boedeker said the line extension is a good idea for the city.
"I think the project needs to be built," he told the council.
He said a proposed line makes sense because a company already has plans to develop the area and would be willing to share the cost of the project.
The council also authorized spending $20,897 for a new police car.
One organization the city would not loosen its purse strings for was CARTS. The council listened to an amendment that would have increased city funding for the public transportation system by $5,000. However, council members said they felt uneasy increasing funding without an assurance from CARTS that the money could be properly allocated.
"I have no problem with this organization at all," said council member Sharon Moock. However, Moock echoed the concerns of several council members when she stated her reluctance to increase funding.
"I don't want to set a trend. They're all good organizations. I'm just nervous about doling out money. I'm concerned with making a commitment if their other funding falls through," Moock said.
The council rejected the amendment by a vote of 5 to 1, with council member Jane Stein casting the lone vote in favor of the measure.
In other action Wednesday, the Soldotna City Council:
Heard from Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael on the status of the new Soldotna skate park.
"We're plugging away at it," he said.
Carmichael told the council a site at the Karen Street Park had been identified for the new park. He said the next step in the process will be to coordinate the construction of the facility, hopefully using labor from the skateboarding community.
"We've had some good dialogue with the kids," he said.
A public meeting is planned for June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center to discuss the project.
"We want to get the word out there what we're proposing," he said.
Approved a request to fund Industry Appreciation Day in the amount of $350.
Allowed the city's cemetery task force six additional weeks to come up with recommendations to the city. The task force has been reviewing potential cemetery sites, but needs more time to finalize a plan. The task force will next meet June 10 at 6 p.m. to discuss location options.
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