Reader takes issue with dipnet fee proposal

In the article entitled “Kenai adjusts dipnet fees,” appearing in the April 7 Clarion, the Honorable Mayor of the City of Kenai is quoted as recommending the city attorney look at what the city can offer residents to access the (dipnet) fishery for free, while the council is looking at how much they can gouge other users of the fishery.

After having lived in both Juneau and Anchorage, I moved my family here in the fall of 1978 because a Trooper friend of mine advised that the Kenai-Soldotna area was the best place in Alaska to raise children. We purchased our first home in Kenai in 1980, and we still own it as a rental. We later purchased the adjoining lot. We purchased my office condo in 1990, and later purchased the adjoining condo for my wife’s business. After the kids grew up we moved North to a place where would could grow a large garden, raise fruit trees, have honey bees and ducks and be separated from the neighbors by trees and space, and our dogs would not bother anyone.

My wife and I have participated in the dipnet fishery since it’s inception. We don’t take many; just enough to fill the jars we will eat that winter with a few for the barbecue, which is often less that the head of house amount.

Each year the dipnet fishery becomes more of a hassle and more expensive, and being in my early 70s, more difficult. Each year for the past several we have read a comment in the paper from the same “recreational” set net fisherman, who is a recognized expert in his real profession, about how bad the dipnet fishery is, and how greedy we are, and in the recent past he complained (how ghastly) about a bird dropping fish entrails in his yard. (Apparently he hires someone to clean the thousands of fish he catches for sale, while we clean a couple of dozen to eat.)

So even though my wife and I have paid real property taxes to the City of Kenai for three improved properties and one vacant lot starting 34 years ago, and I have collected and paid over sales from my business for 36 years, and my wife for nearly that long, the Honorable Mayor is now seeking a way to gouge us more for participating in the dipnet fishery, while proposing that anyone who lives in Kenai, whether or not they pay any taxes, can bring out their kids and grandkids and roar around in loud 4-wheelers and create more stress, and have the cost associated with their use paid by me and others in the area who just don’t happen to live in Kenai. I hope this isn’t a big city ploy to buy favor at election time.

How about the idea used at the Nikiski Pool. If you own property and pay the taxes which it takes to run the facility, you don’t pay to play?