The Kenai Peninsula Borough building, pictured Sept. 12, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Peninsula Borough building, pictured Sept. 12, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly looks to refund tourism council

The organization was defunded when Mayor Charlie Pierce vetoed $100,000 from its budget.

An ordinance appropriating $150,00 for the tourism marketing council will be introduced at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

Since the 1990s, the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council — a nonprofit aimed at promoting the Kenai Peninsula as a “world class visitor destination” — has been funded by the borough. In June, however, the organization was defunded when Mayor Charlie Pierce vetoed $100,000 from its budget.

An Oct. 10 memo to the assembly from assembly member Brent Hibbert, the ordinance’s sponsor, said tourism is an important component of the borough’s economy, and that the borough is in competition with other communities throughout the state for tourism dollars.

Hibbert’s ordinance would appropriate $150,000 from borough general fund balance to the tourism council for the purpose of promoting tourism in areas of the borough, outside of the cities.

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council submitted a grant application to the borough in February for $100,000. Hibbert’s ordinance would allow the council an opportunity to update its grant application to include an outline of proposed projects. If the ordinance passes, the council would have 45 days to send in an updated application, which would be presented to borough administration.

In his proposed FY 2020 budget, Pierce zeroed out the $100,000 marketing council funds provided in years past. The assembly amended the $100,000 back into the budget, before they passed it in May. The mayor vetoed the $100,000 June 18, and the assembly failed to override.

In FY 2019, the borough provided the council with $100,000. In the FY 2018 budget, the borough supported the council with $305,980 in funds, and $340,00 in FY 2017.

A public hearing of the ordinance will be held at the Nov. 5 assembly meeting.

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