Governor's vetoes cut peninsula

Posted: Sunday, December 07, 2003

Many funding requests in the 2003 priority list appeared to have been successful as the session ended in May. But that was before Gov. Frank Murkowski excised $4.65 million aimed at the Kenai Peninsula, including $960,000 in municipal matching grants.

Among the matching-grant projects that lost funding were street improvements in Kenai, new restrooms at Soldotna Creek Park, equipment for the Seward Street Department, a proposed new library in Homer, site preparation support for a Homer hockey rink, a building renovation in Seldovia, as well as various road jobs listed under the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Road Improvement Program. Those cuts ranged from a high of $495,022 for borough road improvements to a low of $25,000 for the Seldovia project.

Meanwhile, borough and city projects slated for grants typically funneled through various Alaska government departments also saw their funding removed by veto.

Biggest among them included the $1.47 million chopped from Seward's plans to upgrade and realign the Third Avenue water main, the $600,000 meant for Soldotna water system improvements, $450,000 for land acquisition in the Diamond Creek Project in Homer, the $250,000 sliced from under the Arctic Winter Games preparations, the $125,000 cut from Homer's water and wastewater master plan project, the $135,000 aimed at buying a new fast-attack fire engine for Kachemak Emer-gency Services and the $100,000 targeting a Lower Kenai River public-use impact study.

Along with those, were numerous other department-funded projects that had expected aid packages ranging from a low of $10,000 to as much as $75,000, but they also lost their funds to the veto pen.

All that has led borough and city officials to take long hard looks at how they prioritize projects as they prepare their proposed fiscal year 2005 wish lists.

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