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Ballot issues top KPB agenda

Posted: Tuesday, August 05, 2003

A resolution to place a proposition on the Oct. 7 municipal ballot asking voters to support the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska with a property tax levy will be among several items on tonight's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting agenda that could end up on the same ballot.

In an effort to secure a steady stream of operating funds, Challenger Center officials have requested at least a one-tenth-mill boroughwide tax levy, which would be expected to produce about $400,000 annually.

However, last week several members of the assembly expressed some skepticism about the need for a tax levy and it wasn't clear then whether there would be enough support to send the issue to the voters or to introduce the accompanying Ordinance 2003-32 that would make necessary amendments to the borough code.

Meanwhile, Ordinance 2003-27 is up for a final hearing. It would OK a ballot measure seeking voter approval for the authorization to issue nearly $50 million in general obligation bonds needed to make capital improvements to Central Peninsula General Hospital.

A half-mill increase in the Central Peninsula General Hospital Service Area property tax is anticipated to help cover the cost of the bonds. According to hospital officials, facility revenues are expected to pay a healthy percentage of the bond payments.

Also up for a final public hearing is Ordinance 2003-31, which would place an advisory proposition on the fall ballot asking voters to confirm support for the borough's transportation powers. Assembly member Betty Glick of Kenai wants voters to demonstrate that they want the borough to continue exercising the areawide transportation powers adopted in 2000, which authorized funding for public transportation.

The ordinance barely made it through introduction, getting the minimum five of nine assembly votes to send it on to a public hearing Tuesday.

Currently, the borough only funds one transportation service the CARTS (Central Area Rural Transit System) program, to the tune of $50,000 this fiscal year. Glick has said transportation costs have a tendency to rise. She called it "a potentially expensive power."

If voters do not affirm the power, it would be repealed. That action, however, would not impact existing transportation appropriations, nor bind future assemblies.

Seward and Bear Creek residents could see another ballot measure, this one to establish the Seward-Bear Creek Flood Ser-vice Area in a 110-square-mile region in and around Seward. A half-mill property tax is proposed for the service area. The assembly will hold a public hearing on Ordinance 2003-30, which would place the flood service area issue on the ballot if approved. The hearing will be teleconferenced in Seward.

Finally, Ordinance 2003-22 gets a public hearing Tuesday. If passed, it would create a ballot measure asking voters to approve the exercise of areawide trails powers in the borough. A one-tenth-mill property tax levy is envisioned to support the Kenai Peninsula Borough Trails Service Area.

On other business, the assembly will consider Resolution 2003-086, providing for the issuance of up to $10.5 million in general obligation bonds to pay part of the cost of improvements at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. Service area voters approved the bond sale in a special election July 1.



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