Kasilof station funds put to vote

Residents will decide on $2.5 million bond package for CES fire facility

Posted: Monday, June 27, 2005

Residents of the Kasilof area who last fall voted to become part of the Central Emergency Service Area could soon be asked to approve a $2.5 million bond package to provide the cash needed to design, build and outfit a new fire station.

Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly introduced Ordinance 2005-28, which, if approved, would place the general obligation bond measure on the Oct. 4 municipal ballot. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the Aug. 2 meeting.

The new fire station would be located across the Sterling Highway from Tustumena Elementary School.

Covering the bond debt of the general obligation bond may require a property tax increase throughout the CES area. The ordinance indicates a .15-mill increase, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $15 per year. It is not yet clear that any mill rate increase will be necessary, however, said borough Finance Director Scott Holt.

Last fall, voters in Kasilof, Cohoe and Clam Gulch, as well as their neighbors inside the existing service area, voted overwhelmingly for expansion of CES. Their approval extended the limits of CES to the southern boundary of the existing Central Peninsula Emergency Medical Service Area around Mile 120 of the Sterling Highway.

That move boosted the property tax mill rate of residents within the new expanded area from the 1 mill they were paying for ambulance services to 2.35 mills. A fiscal note attached to the expansion proposition last year said no tax increase was anticipated for CES property outside the expansion area itself.

The CES-wide .15-mill increase that may be needed to cover the expected 20-year bond debt is a separate matter, Holt said. The bond issue would not have to cover the cost of land as the borough already has a site, he said.

The assembly also voted 8-0 to approve Ordinance 2005-19-03 accepting a $235,000 grant from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for new teacher housing in Tyonek.

The poor condition of two aging trailers serving as the teacherage in the remote village has contributed to teacher turnover, according to Kenai Peninsula Borough School District officials.

The grant money came through AHFC from the Denali Commission Teacher Housing Program. It will be added to $325,000 already appropriated to finance construction of a duplex with a pair of three-bedroom units.

The borough anticipates entering a contract with the Native Village of Tyonek and Cook Inlet Housing Authority in which the village would contribute land and utility connections, and the authority its housing development and management expertise.

Tim Peterson, human resources director for the school district, said the new facility would solve a host of problems, turnover being one of them. The trailers serving as teacher housing at Tyonek are old and not very inviting. They've been there since at least 1980, Peterson said. It is hoped that new digs would encourage educators to remain in the village longer.

Filling the four teaching slots in the village required the district to find teaching couples because only two trailers existed. The duplex, along with the trailers, should expand the pool of potential teachers beyond teaching couples.

"It will allow us more flexibility in hiring," Peterson said.

Once built, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will manage the duplex the same way it manages its other teacher housing units. The borough would handle regular maintenance and routine repair, as with all borough-owned teacher housing.

In other business, the assembly:

n Adopted Ordinance 2004-19-55 appropriating $322,551 from the general fund as supplemental funding from local sources for school purposes in the current fiscal year;

n Adopted Ordinance 2004-19-56 appropriating a $50,000 grant from the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for security equipment;

n Adopted Ordinance 2004-19-57 appropriating an additional $18,534 to cover utility work on the Road Service Area Community College Drive capital improvement project;

n Adopted Ordinance 2005-20 adopting the Kenai Peninsula Borough Comprehensive Plan update;

n Adopted Ordinance 2005-23 authorizing a long-term lease of Beach Access Tract in the Moose Point Subdivision to ConocoPhillips Company;

n Adopted Ordinance 2005-25 certifying 6,500 feet of Moose Range Drive in the Central Region and 4,440 feet of Fairway Avenue in the West Region of the Road Service Area for road maintenance coverage;

n Introduced Ordinances 2005-19 and 2005-30, which call for appointed Boards of Equalization and Adjustment. Public hearings are set for Aug. 2.

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