Soldotna passes $11.6 million budget

Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010

The Soldotna City Council passed a $11.6 million dollar budget Wednesday night. The council also set a 1.65 mill rate for its property tax.

"We beat Kenai again," said Vice Mayor Shea Hutchings of their levy. On Monday the Kenai City Council set a 3.85 mill rate.

The city also revised their public nuisance law, which targets trash and general junk throughout the city. City Planner Stephanie Queen said that suspected violaters will receive a written notice after the first complaint. The alleged trashmonger will have 30 days to appeal the measure, according to Queen. The city will charge Soldotnans with litter on their property if they don't successfully complete the abatement, she said.

General trash, scrapped or wrecked materials, or property blight will be subject to the revised law. Also, any garbage that children will want to play in, such as a discarded refrigerator.

"Reading over this ordinance, I realize that the tires outside my house could be considered a public nuisance," council member Nels Anderson said.

A discussion on a potential city council webcast generated heated discussion. Mullen pointed out that Soldotna's council had no broadcast capability and suggested creating a video webcast of the meetings like Kenai's council. She said that the online component would increase community input.

Council member Ed Sleater became the vocal leader of the opposition.

"If they care about what's being talked about, they should get their butts down here," said Sleater, who cursed the webcast idea a few minutes later.

The measure failed to pass with a split 3-3 vote. Mayor Peter Miccicche waived his right to cast the deciding vote, which killed the proposal.

"Interesting," said council member Dale Bagely, who thought that the mayor was obligated to vote on a tie.

The council requested that city manager Larry Semmens look into audio broadcasting their meetings because of an assumed lower cost.

The council tabled a contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers because of alleged disagreements with the union. Council members agreed to revisit the ordinance after discussing the contract with the electrical union.

The council also held back on two water line and sewage ordinances at council member Peggy Mullen's request. Council member Mullen said that she had questions for the water department and wanted to speak with its head before voting on the bill.

Tony Cella can be reached at

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