1 July 2014 Borough Assembly Meeting Report
By Sue McClure
We had a full audience, with much public testimony, and our meeting ended just before midnight. The bulk of the testimony was about Ordinance 2014-25, which had its first of two public hearings. This is the ordinance proposing a 4% borough-wide transient accommodations tax (bed tax), subject to voter approval on the October 7 ballot, to be used for tourism marketing and schools. This was amended to be used only for tourism marketing. There was an attempt to change it to a 1% and then to a 3% tax, but both amendments were defeated. We will address this again on July 22, and vote on the ordinance at that time.
Another ordinance that brought out the public for testimony was Ordinance 2014-20, amending code to require borough elections to be held by mail. This would only apply to borough elections, and begin this fall, if approved. Mr. Bagley sponsored a resolution (2014-044) that would put an advisory vote on the October ballot to give the public a voice on this issue, and this resolution was defeated 5-3. He later moved for reconsideration at the 7-22 meeting. Then the ordinance was defeated by a 4-4 vote. The sponsor, Mr. Smith, moved for reconsideration at the 7-22 meeting, so if either or both is brought forward, we will re-visit the resolution and/or the ordinance at that time.
Resolution 2014-045, sponsored by Mr. Johnson, placing a nonareawide advisory vote on the October ballot asking whether the borough should exercise and fund limited animal control powers for domestic animal rescue in the areas outside the cities, passed by 6-2, after much input and discussion.
In other, unanimous, votes, we accepted and appropriated several state grants, one of which was $400,000 for the elodea eradication project. We also adopted the City of Seldovia’s comprehensive plan.
We introduced six ordinances on the consent agenda. Ordinance 2014-19-07 accepts and appropriates a nearly $10,000 state grant for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area, and Ordinance 2014-19-10 appropriates the cruise ship “head tax” proceeds, and will allocate $306,722.50 to the City of Seward. These will be up for public hearing at the 8-5 meeting.
Our next meeting will be at 6 PM July 22nd. We are due to begin live streaming of the meetings on the borough website at that meeting. At that time we will have the last public hearing on the bed tax ordinance (2014-25), and also hear Ordinance 2014-24, which would change code to remove the pro/con statements on ballot propositions from the voter brochure. And, we may reconsider the by-mail voting resolution and ordinance.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-6784. The Seward Annex and Seward Bear Creek Flood Board offices in Sea View Plaza are great informational sources, as is the borough website www.borough.kenai.ak.us.