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Soldotna council OKs budget amendments

Members of the Soldotna City Council meet on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Ashlyn O'Hara
/
KDLL
Members of the Soldotna City Council meet on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Soldotna City Council members approved amendments to their operating budget Wednesday. The spending plan covers the fiscal year that starts on July 1. No changes were made to the city’s sales or property tax rates.

Soldotna uses a budget structure that covers two fiscal years instead of one. Council members meet after the first year figure out what changes, if any, they want to make to the spending plan. The council convened for a special meeting last month to consider changes.

The version of the budget approved by council members cuts planned funding for the Soldotna Senior Center and reclassifies certain city employee positions.

The decision to continue defunding the senior center comes after the council said the center should petition the city directly for funding. The city cut funding for the center last year after multiple people voiced concerns about how the center was being run. Council members had planned to refund the center this fiscal year at its previous level of $12,700.

The revised budget also bumps pay for some city staff, including Soldotna police officers, the police sergeant and lieutenant, administrative assistants and the parks and recreation operations supervisor. City Manager Janette Bower told council members the personnel changes are meant to help Soldotna compete with other municipalities when it comes to hiring.

Also on Wednesday, council members gave Bower permission to develop recruitment and retention incentives for city employees. Those incentives may include bonuses, relocation assistance and an employee referral program.

Soldotna’s budget documents can be accessed on the city’s website at soldotna.org.

Prior to joining KDLL's news team in May 2024, O'Hara spent nearly four years reporting for the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai. Before that, she was a freelance reporter for The New York Times, a statehouse reporter for the Columbia Missourian and a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. You can reach her at aohara@kdll.org