The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Boro Issues, candidates

 

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Voting booth at Seward City Hall.

Borough residents on the Eastern Kenai Peninsula in District 6 head for the polls Oct. 1 to vote their ballots. City of Seward residents will get two ballots, one for city candidates along with one for service area and borough seats and propositions. The District 6 borough school district representative and service area candidates are running uncontested, although there is a provision for write in candidates.

Two propositions have tax implications borough wide. KPB Proposition 1 would increase the residential property tax exemption for taxpayers who claim their property as their primary residence. If approved, the exemption will increase from $20,000 to $50,000. This proposition applies only to borough property taxes,

Proponents of raising the tax exemption say that the minimal impact of the revenue losses to the borough can easily be made up by increasing the property tax rate 0.2 mil. They claim the proposition will decrease tax payments by local homeowners, especially those with modest dwellings, and raising the mill rate will redistribute the tax burden to non-residents and more expensive properties.

Adversaries of the proposition claim it will deflect attention from achieving fiscal restraint and give taxpayers relief at the expense of business, which may pass additional tax costs along to renters and customers. Proposition 1 is alone among the three measures on the ballot to generate statements in the voter information booklet both for and against.

If passed, the proposition will decrease KPB tax revenues in the Seward area by $34.801 according to current parcel enrollment and values. According to borough projections the Bear Creek Fire Service Area will lose $26,706 yearly and the Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service area $8.725. The Roads Service area would lose $285,401 annually over the entire Peninsula. Both advocates and opponents of the measure say that the assembly can cover any shortfalls at their discretion by voting to raise the mill rate.

KPB Proposition 2 would allow the KPB to borrow up to $22.99 million and pay it back by increasing the taxes on all assessed property in the borough according to a percentage of its value. No bonds will be issued unless the State of Alaska commits through legislation to pay at least 70 percent of the debt and interest. The borough estimates that $100,000 of taxable property will incur $6.77 in taxes annually over the life of the 20-year bond.

The funds raised by this proposition will go to pay for roof replacements on a long list of borough school buildings as a well as a new sports field for Homer High School. There is also a mention in the voter information booklet to similar education capital improvements being funding by this measure. None of the schools slated for repairs are in District 6.

The two-part Proposition 3 ask voters whether to do away with KPB Borough Assembly member term limits entirely in Question A or whether to increase terms limits to three consecutive terms from two in Question B. This is an advisory vote as the assembly may do away with term limits at its discretion. Sue McClure, assembly member from Eastern Peninsula District 6, will end her second term in 2015 and would be eligible to run for a third if Question B is approved by voters. However, McClure has told The LOG that this is almost certainly her last term on the borough assembly.

Lynn Hohl is running unopposed for the East Peninsula, District 6 KPB school board seat. Seward voters will be also be able to vote for incumbent Christina Stauffer for Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service Area Seat F or write in their preference. In addition to Hohl and Stauffer, Bear Creek voters will be able to vote for unopposed candidates Earl Kloster and Daniel Logan for Bear Creek Fire Service Area Board seats A and D or write in name or names of their preference. Hohl will be the only candidate running for office appearing on Moose Pass ballots.

 

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