Kenai approves annual budget, flat mill rate

Council members approved the budget during the body’s June 1 meeting

Kenai City Council members on June 1 approved the city’s operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2023.

In all, Kenai is projecting general fund revenues of $18.6 million in fiscal year 2023, including about $9.3 million in sales tax revenue and about $4.2 million in property taxes revenue. The city’s sales tax revenue has steadily increased over the previous five fiscal years, with another projected increase in FY23.

Also approved by the city council during the June 1 meeting was a flat mill rate, or property tax rate, for city residents. Mill rates are used to figure out how much someone will pay in property taxes during a certain fiscal year. To calculate how much property tax they expect to pay, an individual must divide the mill rate by 1,000 and then multiply that by their property’s taxable value.

Council members lowered the amount of money the city will use to operate the Kenai Senior Center, as $50,000 in funding was recently pledged by the Kenai Senior Connection, Inc. for operating expenses. Council member Teea Winger sought unsuccessfully to amend the budget such that an operator position removed in fiscal year 2022 would be re-added, according to meeting minutes. The council voted 5-2 against the motion.

Included in the budget are increases in parking fees at the Kenai Municipal Airport: Daily rates would increase from $7 to $8, while annual rates would increase from $700 to $800. Kenai and Soldotna residents will be charged the same amount to drop off felines as they are to drop off canines under changes approved in the budget: $20.40 for cats and dogs, and $35.70 for kittens and puppies.

The budget also funds the city’s contributions to capital projects described in Kenai’s five-year capital improvement plan for the upcoming fiscal year, such as rehabilitation to Willow Street and Lilac Street.

The council unanimously passed the city budget as amended. The council’s full June 1 meeting can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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

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