17 June 2014 Borough Assembly Meeting Report
By Sue McClure
We had several ordinances that resulted in extensive public comment and assembly discussion, at this June meeting. After testimony and discussion, Ordinance 2014-18, changing code to require only a simple majority instead of a 60% voter approval to change the sales tax cap, passed by a 5-4 vote. I voted in favor of this ordinance. Currently the sales tax is capped at the first $500 of sale value, and now would only require a simple majority of voters to change that value. We passed Ordinance 2014-22 by unanimous consent, which adopts the updated 2010 KPB All Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Ordinance 2014-20 took up most of the meeting. This ordinance, sponsored by Mr. Smith, would amend code to change all borough elections to “by mail”, and also would repeal the code that authorizes pro and con statements on propositions to be placed in the election brochure. The ordinance was amended unanimously to split the question, and a new ordinance, Ordinance 2014-24 was introduced (on the consent agenda) for hearing on July 22 that addresses the proposition statement part. After public testimony and discussion, the original ordinance (addressing by-mail voting) was postponed until July 1. It is possible that it will be further amended at that meeting.
Ordinance 2014-25, sponsored by Mr. Smith, which would amend code to establish a borough-wide 4% “bed tax” was pulled from the consent agenda, spoken to extensively, and then introduced by an 8-1 vote for public hearings at both the July 1 and July 22 meetings. This ordinance would put the question on the October ballot of matching Seward’s 4% bed tax borough-wide, with about 75% of the money in the unincorporated areas going to tourism marketing, and about 25% to the schools. Seward and other incorporated cities would have the bed tax to use as they please.
Our next meeting is July 1 at 6 PM. We will hold a public hearing on Ordinance 2014-20, the by-mail voting ordinance, as well as the first hearing on the bed tax ordinance. In addition, we have several ordinances that accept and appropriate state funds, including $400,000 for the elodea eradication project. Our meetings are broadcast on 88.1 FM in Seward, and copies of the agenda are on our website www.borough.kenai.ak.us, and at the Seward Annex office as well as at the Seward Post Office and City Hall. I can be reached at 224-6784 or email@example.com. There is still one seat available on the Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area Board, and you can contact the office in Sea View Plaza to apply.