Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Senior Center makes plans for $715,000 endowment

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust

The Kenai Senior Center plans to set up a permanent fund using roughly $715,500 it received this year after being named the beneficiary of a trust.

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust, of which the Kenai Senior Center was named a beneficiary. Through the trust, the Kenai Senior Center is to receive one-third of the residual balance, or about $700,000. That’s according to an Aug. 9 memo from Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank to council members.

Kenai Senior Center Director Kathy Romain sought guidance from members of the Kenai City Council during Wednesday’s council meeting about how the funds should be used.

Romain said Wednesday that Cone, who died on July 2, was the daughter of Beaver Loop homesteaders Chester and Mavis Cone, who Romain said were proponents of the center. The Cones wrote in “Once Upon the Kenai” that they arrived in Alaska from Arkansas in 1949 and moved to Kenai in 1950.

“Homesteading, like mountain climbing, was an upward climb,” Mavis Cone, who died in 2016, writes in the book. “It has been very gratifying to raise our children, Tamara and Curtis, to be part of a growing community.”

Romain told council members Wednesday that while the Kenai Senior Connection has previously received endowment money that it used to create a permanent fund, the Kenai Senior Center has not received that kind of contribution before. Kenai Senior Connection is the fundraising organization for the Kenai Senior Center.

“This is a big thing for us to do,” Romain told council members Wednesday.

To date, the Kenai Senior Center has received just over $715,500 through the trust over two separate payments, Eubank wrote in his Aug. 9 memo. In proposing potential paths forward, he said one of the fundamentals of governmental budgeting is to not use one-time funding for recurring expenses.

“When funds are received and they’re one-time funds, the general prescription is that they not be used for an operational purpose,” Eubank said. “You don’t want to create a program or something that, at the end of these funds, you have to come up with another revenue source to pay for it.”

Eubank proposed multiple options for the funds, such as depositing them into the city’s general fund to have for one-time expenditures at the senior center, and establishing a permanent fund for the center. Rather than establishing a fund with annual distributions that could be used for any costs — recurring or nonrecurring — the council threw their support behind Eubank’s third option. That option proposes establishing a permanent fund with periodic, rather than annual, distributions.

“As one-time, non-recurring projects are identified — like capital projects — you would appropriate the earnings towards those projects,” Eubank said. “It could be three years, it could be five years, it could be 10 years, it could be one every other year. It just depends on how the projects are identified. The funds would be as a permanent fund again, and have a longer lasting impact.”

The fund would be invested in the same way as the City of Kenai’s other permanent funds.

The Kenai City Council still needs to formally vote on the use of the funds. Following direction provided by the council Wednesday, city administration will write legislation for the council to consider at an upcoming meeting.

Wednesday’s full council meeting can be streamed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

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

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