Initiative would limit taxes: Taxpayer group aims for more control over borough finances

Voices of the Peninsula

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers (A.C.T.) submitted an initiative petition that could limit the total revenue collected by borough taxes. This initiative, called ACT-CAP would stabilize property taxes and over time save peninsula taxpayers a lot of money. ACT-CAP allows cost of living increases based on borough population growth or loss. Additional increases above the cost of living formula would have to be approved by voters. This limit is designed to control the expansion of government services to those that the public approves. ACT-CAP puts the public back in control of future growth in borough services and spending.

A.C.T. placed Proposition 4 on the October 2005 ballot. Proposition 4 lowered the limit on the amount of money the assembly could spend on capital construction projects or major purchases without voter approval. The limit is now $1,000,000 and Proposition 4 is already working to save borough citizens tax dollars. Your assembly representatives were and still are very much opposed to Proposition 4.

Nikiski residents from our group worked to pass a similar imitative in 2004, which lowered the limit that the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area (NPRSA) could spend from $1,500,000 to $500,000. The result of that initiative has already saved Nikiski taxpayers over $1,000,000. The NPRSA had approved a plan to spend over $1,000,000 to convert the old Nikiski Elementary School into a community center. After the initiative passed they were able to make the conversion for under $50,000. Putting the public into the process has proven to save taxpayers a significant amount of money, which translates into lower taxes and more accountable borough government.

In recent years the assembly and administrations have repeatedly “bent” the rules and spent our tax money on questionable schemes. Several excellent examples are the purchase of Heritage Place for $1 under the cap and construction of a new emergency operations center in Soldotna. Another “bend” of State Statutes occurred last year when they attempted to increase the borough wide sales tax without voter approval in KPB Ordinance 2005-09.

However, A.C.T. forced the borough to put the sales tax increase on the 2005 ballot using a citizen’s initiative that became Proposition 5, and voters stopped that tax increase. Later this year voters will be given the opportunity to repeal the balance of KPB Ordinance 2005-09 thanks to a referendum promoted by A.C.T.

On May 26, 2006 ACT-CAP was rejected by the Borough Clerk for “legal” reasons, even though ACT-CAP is an exact copy of an initiative ordinance that took effect after a legal challenge in the Mat-Su Borough two years ago. The excuse given by the KPB Clerk was the same used by the Mat-Su Borough two years ago. When the initiative petitioners challenged the MatSu Borough in court, the borough lost. A.C.T. is currently raising money in order to do the same here.

Our elected officials have a long history of alienating the public they are sworn to serve. Simply stated, ACT-CAP will put the public back into the process in a meaningful way. Elected officials who choose to continue ignoring the peoples will, should be replaced by better representatives. However, until they can be replaced ACT-CAP offers the only real protection to borough taxpayers.

It is always the right time to do the right thing. Now is the right time for the public to support ACT-CAP and help put this important issue on the October 2006 ballot. All taxpayers are encouraged to contribute to this effort, because it’s the right thing to do.

Complete details about ACT-CAP can be found on the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers web site at www.act-kpb.org.

Mike McBride, of Nikiski, is the president of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers.



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