Assembly to approve grant appropriations

Borough plans to pass state money on to area organizations, agencies at Tuesday meeting

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2002

Several state grants are expected to be passed on to their respective designee organizations and agencies when the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly votes Tuesday on authorizing ordinances.

The money for the following appropriations were part of Senate Bill 2006 passed by the Alaska Legislature during the special session in June. The grants come through the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development.

Ordinance 2002-19-12 will appropriate $130,000 to the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Service Area for the purchase of emergency response equipment and a rescue vehicle.

Ordinance 2002-19-13 will send $400,000 to the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area for development and construction of a community center. The project will begin with a feasibility study to be followed by creation of design and construction documents. If money remains, it will be used to begin site preparation.

The service area has a 60-acre parcel suitable for the facility. Activities planned for the facility include volleyball, basketball, teen programs, exercise and community dances and meetings.

Ordinance 2002-19-14 would expend $52,000 in state money also in the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area for improvements to the skateboard park at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School.

Ordinance 2002-19-15 awards $74,310 to the borough to conduct Coastal Management Program tasks and permit reviews. The grant requires a $22,293 match from the borough. The money will pay for wages and benefits associated with borough permit reviews.

Another measure expected to come to a vote Tuesday is Ordinance 2002-38, a measure that would provide a partial exemption from real estate taxes for volunteers who provide fire-fighting or emergency medical services in the borough. The tax break is expected to provide an incentive to join emergency services agencies that are experiencing difficulty recruiting qualified trained volunteers.

The Legislature adopted Senate Bill 4 during the last session authorizing municipalities to provide an exemption from property taxes on up to $10,000 of the assessed value of real property owned and occupied as the permanent place of residence for qualified volunteers.

According to borough data, there are some 336 trained emergency and fire volunteers of which 185 are property owners. The estimated revenue loss would be about $12,000 total.

The assembly also will tackle several resolutions Tuesday, including one supporting the Iliamna-Nondalton road project and another authorizing fire-fuel reduction logging sales.

Resolution 2002-123 expresses the borough's "strong and continuing support" for the road project that has topped the Lake and Peninsula Borough's capital improvement priority and transportation priority lists for several years. The project would connect the communities of Iliamna, Newhalen and Nondalton with surface transportation and provide inter-modal benefits by connecting the villages to the regional airport and dock and barge-landing facilities at Iliamna.

A lawsuit filed by the Alaska State Council of Trout Unlimited has tied the project up in court. The suit challenges the process by which the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities scores rural road projects.

Resolution 2002-128 would authorize Mayor Dale Bagley to seek bids on fuel reduction sales in Units 7 and 8. Those units are on the lower Kenai Peninsula around Anchor Point and Homer. According to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission, on average, spruce beetles have killed or infested more than 90 percent of the mature spruce trees within the unit sale areas.

The assembly also is expected to introduce Ordinance 2002-39, which would make several changes to the borough' sales tax code to make it fairer.

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