Country singer Zac Brown's lawyer Blaine Gillam speaks for his client at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission meeting, Aug. 12, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly OKs pay bumps for planning commissioners

The 14-member body is responsible for the “systematic development and betterment” of the borough

For the first time in 21 years, members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission are getting raises. Legislation approved by Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members last week will bump commissioners’ pay per meeting from $125 to $175. The commission chairperson will be paid $200, instead of $150, per meeting.

The 14-member planning commission is responsible generally for the “systematic development and betterment” of the borough. The commission also has the approval and rejection authority over plots of land and can investigate public buildings or structures.

In proposing the raises, Assembly President Brent Johnson cited historical raises given to commissioners by the assembly, noting that the last time commissioners’ pay was bumped was in 2001. Adjusting for inflation, $50 in 1981 is equivalent to $158 in 2022.

“I think it would be helpful for morale to bring the compensation of these commissioners up to date,” Johnson wrote in a May 5 memo to assembly members.

A fiscal note included with the legislation shows that the raises will add about $21,000 to the borough’s annual operating expenditures. The pay bump comes after extensive efforts by the borough to fill vacancies on the commission.

“Planning commission members volunteer substantial amounts of time for the borough, and increasing the compensation for planning commission members will help attract more qualified applicants for membership and help retain those who now serve,” the ordinance says.

The assembly’s full June 21 meeting can be viewed on the borough’s website at kpb.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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