Infrastructure is a key theme of the City of Kenai’s draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The draft document, which will be the subject of a Saturday work session with city department heads and members of the Kenai City Council, covers the fiscal year 2024, which runs from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.
Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank wrote in an introductory letter accompanying the draft budget that the city is uniquely positioned to make “overdue strategic investments” in the city’s aging infrastructure. That, he said, is because of tax revenue growth and federal stimulus programs.
Eubank and Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel reported during their “State of the City” address earlier this month that Kenai has seen 22 consecutive quarters of year-over-year sales tax growth. That announcement came as the city finalizes work on the bluff erosion project, which secured crucial boosts from state and federal funding opportunities.
Kenai is able to commit about $5.7 million in general fund reserves for its five-year capital plan, Eubank wrote. The proposal would have an additional $1.9 million transferred to various city funds for capital projects.
Among the city’s other initiatives for the upcoming fiscal year, Eubank wrote, would be new initiatives to spur economic activity in Kenai. He specifically identifies the creation of a program that would revitalize the city’s older structures and make the first $100,000 of business property tax exempt.
No changes are being proposed to Kenai’s sales tax of 3% or to the city’s mill rate at 4.35 mills. 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.
“Over the last several years, a combination of Federal stimulus and tax revenue growth has put the City in a unique position to make overdue strategic investments in our aging infrastructure,” Eubank wrote. “This has provided long-term benefits while also providing financial stability by lessening the tax burden for our residents now and into the future.”
The Kenai City Council will convene with city administrators for an all-day budget work session this Saturday at Kenai City Hall.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.