Oct. 3 we have a borough election. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the three propositions on the ballot. I also wanted to encourage people to vote. Municipal elections can affect your property rights and your pocketbook more than state and federal elections.
The clerk's office provides a program that encourages voter participation. From today until the election on Oct. 3, you can vote "absentee in person" at the Borough Building, Kenai City Hall, Seward City Hall, the borough annex building in Homer and Homer City Hall. If you are going to be busy on Oct. 3 and happen to be by any of these locations, please take the opportunity to vote.
Kenai Peninsula Borough
Proposition No. 1
Proposition No. 1 asks voters throughout the borough to authorize the issuance of capital improvement bonds for maintenance of borough schools.
This is an opportunity that the legislators made available to municipalities around the state. The Kenai Peninsula Borough has spent anywhere from $1.5 million to $3 million annually on school capital maintenance projects. This year we are spending $2.4 million on school capital maintenance items, but there is a long list of projects that are not funded.
Proposition No. 1 will allow us to spend an additional $7.4 million on school capital maintenance items and a school expansion project. The state of Alaska will pay for 70 percent of the costs of the projects. The borough has the money to pay our share up front, but the state requires we do it over a 10-year period. We are not anticipating any increase in the mill rate.
Most of the money will be spent on roof projects, with 28 years being the average age of the roofs being replaced. This bond package will allow the borough to complete many of the capital maintenance projects on our list and the state will pick up 70 percent of the cost.
KPB Proposition No. 2
This proposition is for the voters in the Kachemak Bay area to provide their own fire and emergency medical service. A service area will allow the residents to have more local control and be responsible for their own fire and emergency medical service instead of relying on the city of Homer to go outside the city's boundaries.
KPB Proposition No. 3
Most people think the borough already has the power to build roads but, with a couple of exceptions, it does not have that power. It has the power to maintain and improve existing roads but not to build new roads. The way local roads get built in the borough is by either a subdivision developer or property owners building a road to their property.
We have had several instances where the borough's authority to resolve a road problem would be clearer if the borough had road construction powers. One example is where a borough road is accidentally built on private property. While doing capital improvement work on that road, the borough could move it into the proper dedicated right of way. Also, the federal government has granted us almost $6 million for a North Road extension past Captain Cook Park. This project is low on the state's priority list, and the borough could clearly build it if we had road construction powers.
Before any road is built in the borough, we need to identify funds get the approval of the road service board and the approval of the assembly. There are no immediate plans to construct any roads other than the North Road extension.
Remember to vote Oct. 3.
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