Voters could expand CES service area

Posted: Sunday, August 08, 2004

Residents of Funny River and their counterparts living in the Kasilof, Clam Gulch and Cohoe areas will get the chance to vote this fall whether to expand the Central Emergency Services Area to include their communities.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to place two propositions on the Oct. 5 municipal ballot. One would be for those living in Funny River, the other for residents of the Kasilof, Clam Gulch and Cohoe areas.

In each, the borough would seek authorization to exercise fire protection and emergency medical powers in the new areas.

The Funny River and Kasilof areas already are within the Central Peninsula Medical Emergency Service Area, which is currently managed through a joint operations board with the Central Emergency Service Area.

Funny River Emergency Services has been working to provide fire protection to that community and recently completed construction of the Funny River Emergency Re-sponse Building.

The Kasilof-Cohoe-Clam Gulch area currently has no fire protection.

Though no amendments concerning the issue were adopted, discussion before approval of the ballot measures surrounded whether all property should be subjected to a service area mill rate or only improvements.

In other words, exempting raw land from the tax.

That issue may come up again if residents approve expanding the service area.

According to Borough Attorney Colette Thompson, the assembly has the authority to create differential taxing zones within a taxing jurisdiction, such as a service area.

However, still being re-searched is whether authority exists in state law allowing improvements and raw property to be taxed differently within a taxing zone.

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