As a result of Gov. Frank Murkowski's $37 million cut in state aid to local communities, the city of Soldotna stands to lose $138,000 in municipal assistance and revenue sharing funds, according to City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Additionally, the city will lose $100,589 in municipal capital matching grants that had been earmarked for new restrooms at Soldotna Creek Park, Mayor Dave Carey said Wednesday.
The cuts in aid to local communities are part of $130 million in vetoes the governor made in the state's budget for fiscal year 2004, which begins July 1.
Boedeker said the city would have had to match 30 percent of the money for the restrooms and now that the grant will not come from the state, it is up to the city council to decide whether to go forward with the project. Currently the park has Porta-Potties.
One capital budget line item not affected by the governor's cuts is an additional $1.4 million grant for the city's proposed clarifier-ultraviolet disinfection system for the wastewater treatment facility. That grant remained in the state budget.
However, a $75,000 grant for a Kenai-Soldotna joint water supply feasibility study and a $600,000 grant for improvements to the city's water system were cut, Boedeker said.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation listed the wastewater treatment project as its No. 1 ranked sewer project, he said.
Also affected by the cuts are Heritage Place and Hospice of the Central Peninsula, headquartered in Soldotna. Heritage Place was in line for a $14,070 pass-through grant and hospice would have received $950, Carey said.
"The overall amount from the state government is down 90 percent in the last 10 years," Carey said. "In the early '90s we got over $1 million (a year)."
The mayor said he expects to work through the Alaska Municipal League and to speak with individual legislators about the Murkowski's cuts and his stated intent to eliminate revenue sharing and safe communities grants from future budgets.
Boedeker said the safe communities grants, which were originally intended to help communities pay for services such as police protection and roads, were so named to appeal to legislators voting to approve the grants.
Murkowski said he would make up for part of the cuts in funding to municipalities by giving them $15 million in federal funds to be used however they wish.
Of that total, Soldotna will receive $81,408, Boedeker said.
The $15 million represents three-fifths of the $25 million the state receives from the federal government under the State Fiscal Relief Program included in the Jobs for Growth Tax Relief Act.
Clarion reporter Hal Spence contributed to this story.
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