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KPB Budget and new mill rate adopted, Moose Pass feels unheard

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Kenai Peninsula Borough
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At the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on June 7, the fiscal year 2023 KPB Budget passed unanimously. The budget (ordinance 2022-19) totaled 170.7 million dollars, with 94.8 million coming from the General Fund. Several last minute amendments were added to the budget, including an amendment by KPB Planning Director, Rob Ruffner, that would appropriate an additional 50,000 to survey and document trespass and encroachment issues. Assemblymember Cindy Ecklund also added amendments that would bump the Senior Citizens Grant Program up an additional $71,950 to $791,444. Ecklund also added an amendment that would allot an additional $250,000 to focus on dust control for roads. The budget will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year beginning Jul 1, 2022.

Several other ordinances passed unanimously including an ordinance 2022-14 authorizing the sale of Borough owned parcels by a live auction. Ordinance 2022-12 which would reinstate the Emergency Services Communication Center Advisory Board was also adopted.

Resolution 22-36 passed unanimously. It supports a raised adjustment to the mill rate, which included an amendment from Assemblymember Mike Tupper. The amended mill rate will be 3.66 at the start of the upcoming fiscal year.

One contentious item was Resolution 2022-038 which would change the classification of specific municipal-acquired, Borough owned land in the Moose Pass Area from recreation to utility use. This is at the request of Kenai Hydro LLC for an access road for a hydropower plant proposed off of Grant Lake. The Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project has been in the works for several years, having already cleared several hurdles in the regulatory process. Homer Electric Association anticipates beginning construction of the project for August 2023. Opponents of the Grant Lake land classification change claimed that the Borough had ignored the majority of Moose Pass residents who opposed the site. The Assembly voted to change land designation, with only one dissenting vote, cast by Assemblymember Ecklund. In her closing comments, she said she was upset at the Borough Assembly for not always listening to their constituents.

The next regular Borough Assembly meeting will be Tuesday, June 21 at 6 P.M. You can listen to it here at KBBI AM 890 or stream online at kbbi.org.