Kenai council asks to keep fishing tax funds

Kenai sees about $150,000 to $200,000 in commercial fishing tax revenue

(File photo)

(File photo)

In the face of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed legislation, Kenai City Council has passed a resolution requesting that cities be able to keep commercial fish tax revenue.

Dunleavy recently introduced legislation that would keep about $28 million in commercial fish tax revenue in the state’s general fund, instead of sharing it among fishing communities like Kenai.

“The city of Kenai is right at the mouth of the Kenai river and there has been fishing here since some time in the 19th century. We provide infrastructure for all of that and it is only appropriate that we, and any other municipalities in the fishing zones, receive that tax,” said Kenai City Councilmember Henry Knackstedt at Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting.

Each year, Kenai sees about $150,000 to $200,000 in tax revenue, which is based on an average of the previous two years’ price and catch.

The resolution, urging the state to allow fishing communities to keep the tax revenue, was unanimously approved.

“I don’t want to see this fish tax go away and not be allocated where it should be,” said Council Member Tim Navarre.

Kenai’s City Manager also spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting about the city’s budget and how the state’s budget crisis could affect the city.

“I do anticipate that at some point it’s going to require additional revenues to support the city services at the level that we that we’ve been providing them,” Ostrander told the council.

Ostrander could not say whether or not these effects would be seen in this year’s draft budget, which is expected to be presented at the April 3 council meeting.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “But it’s almost certainly coming. If not this year, then in the coming years.”

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