The Soldotna City Council unanimously adopted a $5.9 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and approved a resolution setting the property tax levy rate at 1.65 mills, during its regular meeting Wednesday.
Saying the city budget balances, City Manager Tom Boedeker attributed operating budget increases to four factors: an increase in worker's compensation insurance of nearly $45,000, a near doubling of the Public Employees Retirement Savings, an increase in health insurance costs and a 3.37 percent increase in wages that includes a built-in 1.9 percent collective bargaining agreement increase.
The council also agreed to begin canvassing homeowners at the end of West Redoubt Avenue to see what they think about possibly having a city cemetery there.
Action on a resolution asking the Kenai Peninsula Borough to transfer a proposed 10-acre parcel to the city for the cemetery, however, was postponed until the desires of the community are known.
Boedeker told the council a number of residents, including some pioneers, expressed a desire for a city cemetery in Soldotna. A cemetery task force identified the Redoubt Avenue land as a recommended site, he said.
A vote on the resolution asking the borough for the land is slated for July 23.
As the council meeting began, Mayor Dave Carey commended three people for alerting Central Emergency Services to an early morning residential fire May 20.
"Two individuals from (the area) and one tourist from Maine saw the fire, alerted the occupants and called 911," Carey said.
"And, thanks to the services of CES, a tragedy was averted," he said.
About 7 a.m. on May 20, 911 received a report of a fire in a mobile home on Birch Street. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the front porch area of the home, and a couple sleeping in a rear bedroom was able to escape unharmed.
Damage to the home was estimated at $2,500, and no one was injured.
Commended for reporting the fire were Brian Goforth and Dori Lynn Anderson as well as CES, headed by Jeff Tucker, for their quick response, according to the mayor.
"The third individual, named Sue, is now driving back to Maine," he said.
In other council business, Carey said he received a check from Sterling Needleworks of Soldotna in the amount of $117 for his "Red-White-and-Blue" letter-writing campaign to U.S. troops stationed in the Mideast.
"It's an example of our community at its best," said Carey.
Boedeker announced that the Alaska Department of Transpor-tation and Public Facilities would be in Soldotna on June 11 to update the city on the status of the new Kenai River bridge design.
City Engineer and Public Works Director Steve Bonebrake invited council members and the mayor to the third annual Central Peninsula Air Fair barbecue Saturday at Soldotna Municipal Airport.
Police Chief Shirley Gifford, whose resignation as chief was made public during the council meeting, announced that training for the city's Community Patrol would be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Soldotna Police Department.
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