Dear fellow eaters and voters, and I hope you’re both,
Soon we will be voting on Soldotna “home rule powers” (May 10). Once we get past the knowledge and undeniable truth that unprepared food staples are a “necessity of life,” that food taxes are regressive to families with children, seniors on fixed income and neighbors on limited incomes — immoral, in my opinion — then we need to ask ourselves, why does the government need this extra power? The power to increase taxes, start new tax schemes and spend the revenue on whatever and whenever, without voter consent? Convention centers, golf courses, airport expansion, chamber of commerce grants, hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to outside consultants and studies, all funded thanks to you, the silent majority, the year-round taxpayers.
After you answer that question, then ask this one: why do the vote yes “power people” try to scare us into submission by saying we will raise your mill rate, your property tax if you don’t do what we say? Please check the May 5 Clarion article by Megan Pacer after sitting in on a budget meeting in Soldotna. Top paraphrase Mr. Dixson, we have plenty of money in reserves, and Councilors Baxter, Cashman and Whitney are not comfortable raising the mill rate to 2 mills — the budget can be trimmed further. Then examine why the $488,000 tax decline is blamed on necessity groceries and not fuel tax revenue with gas prices going from $3.74 per gallon to $2.05 in the past year or so. Or possibly our soon to be annexed neighbors choosing not to shop in Soldotna as much (an early start to the boycott).
Here’s a few realities:
— The borough has been without a 3 percent wintertime sales tax since 2009 (they haven’t closed their doors).
— City of Soldotna sales tax total has increased almost every year from 2003 approximately $5 million through 2015 to approximately $8 million.
— The city of Soldotna fund balance is now approximately $26 million, total assets over $108 million.
— Natural growth — Acapulco Restaurant, Petco, AutoZone, Walgreens, Kenai River Brewery, 25 home permits — is always increasing the tax base.
— The city of Soldotna has a million-dollar property (Davis Block) it can “sit on” off tax rolls for 5 years for the chamber that it could sell to a developer.
— The city had $3.9 million to spend on roundabouts to eliminate seven stop signs (not needed).
— The borough assembly soon will be updating the sales tax code on large purchases, appliances, vehicles, 4-wheelers, etc., that will transfer more revenue to Soldotna coffers. The maximum tax has not changed since 1965. Soldotna as a first class city would still qualify.
— For every price increase on groceries, the city collects more tax money while your family gets less.
I hope you’re tired of reading, because I’m tired of writing, although I could give you many more facts, reasons and opinions. I’m sure you have your own. It seems we do this every year. Please take the power. Don’t be scared by threats or pie-in-the-sky sales pitches of “fulfill our destiny” or “explore the future.” Forty-seven years of tried and true seems to have worked fairly well. Please vote. Let them know you’re keeping an eye on them.