The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly appropriated $1,500 for the costs of printing and distributing information about an upcoming ballot proposition at their Tuesday meeting.
The funds — approved by all assembly members except for Dale Bagley — provide educational information regarding the upcoming ballot initiative that asks voters if the borough’s sales tax cap increase should be raised from $500 to $1,000.
The information relating to the ballot proposition is intended to be factual and objective, and borough code prohibits the use of public funds, facilities, equipment or supplies purchased with public funds and services of public employees in-kind to promote passage of ballot propositions, according to the ordinance.
The ordinance authorizes distribution of printed and electronic information, according to an Aug. 8 memo borough finance director Brandi Harbaugh sent to the borough assembly.
Bagley said he felt uncomfortable passing the ordinance and appropriating money to disseminate information.
“I realize this is legal to do this, but I’m just a little uncomfortable doing it and would rather us not spend any money on trying to put information out there,” Bagley said. “I think people can put information out there without printing stuff off and doing it this way.”
Assembly member Willy Dunne asked the Mayor’s staff if disseminating information about the ballot proposition would be prohibited if the $1,500 was not appropriated.
“We would not have a means to provide a document that basically defines exactly what the proposal is,” Mayor Charlie Pierce said in response.
Pierce further clarified that information about the ballot proposition would be fair and objective.
“It’s not promoting it or discouraging it,” Pierce said. “It’s information only.”
Assembly member Hal Smalley said he would support the expenditure.
“I hear from folks that they like to know what’s on the ballot,” Smalley said. “They like to know what’s happening. They like to know what things mean. I think we want an educated voter out there. This helps provide information only.”
Voters will decide on the ballot proposition at the Oct. 1 election.