Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Large hog operations will spoil peninsula's pristine environment

Please, let's keep hog farms out of the Kenai Peninsula. When I left Iowa I thought I had left the awful water and air pollution resulting from hog farms and processing plants. Now someone wants to spoil our pristine Kenai environment with large hog operations.

The problem with hog farms is not only the pollution of water and the ground, it is also the smell. If you think that rotted salmon smells bad, you will think it is Channel No. 5 perfume compared to the smell of hog manure. My mother lives a mile from a huge hog farm in Missouri, and I pray that the wind is not blowing from the hog operation toward her house before I visit her because the smell can be so bad.

Many people in the Outside have moved from their homes because of the air pollution from hog operations. If large hog farms are allowed in the peninsula, hog processing operations are bound to follow.

Hog processing plants produce at least as much pollution as hog farms.

The environmental result of pollution from hog farms and processing plants is well documented. It is estimated that as many fish have been killed by pollution from hog operations as were killed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Don't take my word for the problems with large hog operations. The facts can be obtained from various Internet sites. The problems in North Carolina are described by www.hogwatch.org. For Virginia's problems go to www.eieio.org and for those of Illinois go to www.farmweb.org. Facts concerning the situation nationally are provided by www.nroc.org/

water/pollution.ffarms.asp and the federal government site www.epa.gov/owmitnet/cafo.htm.

Ralph Van Dusseldorp, Kenai

Borough's property tax assessment methods raise many questions

Like all borough residents who own property, we received our borough tax appraisal for 2001. We would pay our fair share without complaint, but this appraisal is too high.

We tried a couple of times to get this straightened out with the borough real estate tax assessors by giving them admittance to the garage and house (under construction), but found them unwilling to listen or give us any information as to how they arrive at their figures.

On the other hand, we understood that we bore the burden of proof. We supplied the complete accounting of material receipts and labor breakdown for the cost approach on the building, which equals present fair value.

The evidence the borough submitted shows the description analysis (page 5) of the structure to have living area of 1,792 square feet; 512 square feet more than the actual square footage. In proportion, the difference is very close to the assessment overage we are appealing.

The evidence the borough submitted contained errors on other pages as well. After calling borough Mayor Dale Bagley, who consulted with Shane Horan, we were told that taxation on nonexistent area is OK and that it is "built into the program." Evidently, this means that even if the Kenai Peninsula Borough property assessors fail to detect errors in their calculations, these are picked up by their computer program and automatically allowed for.

It makes you wonder how many borough property owners have wrong assessments. Don't worry, they will tell you it is allowed for in their program.

Teresa Werner-Quade, Kenai

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