Nikiski community center plans are far from free

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2004

Any Nikiski property taxpayers believing the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area (NPRSA) can remodel, staff and equip the 41-year-old Nikiski Elementary School for free must still be putting broken teeth under their pillow at night.

This old building has at least $1 million worth of problems that need to be fixed before it can be used, and it's only a matter of time before other major problems arise. All of these repairs, upgrades, staff and equipment will cost money.

The major funding source of the NPRSA budget comes from taxes. Currently about two-thirds of that funding source is from the oil and gas industry, which has begun to scale back operations and in some cases even ceased to operate. Because oil and gas is a nonrenewable resource, when it's gone, it's gone. As this funding source goes away, other taxpayers will be forced to make up for the lost revenue.

Where will the millions of dollars come from to remodel, own and operate the old Nikiski Elementary? Some still believe these cost are free, but more rational people realize funding will come in the form of taxes.

If you don't believe in "Tooth Fairy Economics," consider electing NPRSA board members with a better grasp of reality. David Machado and Vicki Pate will make great replacements for this board.

A vote yes for Propositions 3 and 4 will put the breaks on this "free" community center and limit the cost of future capital projects without an authorizing vote of Nikiski taxpayers.

Mike McBride

North Kenai

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