Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai to vote on budget, mill rate Wednesday

In all, the City of Kenai is projecting around $38.6 million in revenue and just under $50 million in expenditures.

The Kenai City Council will vote on the city’s FY22 budget, mill rate and budget amendments when they meet on Wednesday evening. FY22 refers to the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2021 and ending on June 30, 2022.

Among the biggest financial changes are the elimination of a Street Operator position in the city’s Public Works Department, through which the city expects to save nearly $100,000. Other changes include a $10,000 increase to the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center as part of its operating agreement with the city, a $53,000 increase toward the city’s marketing campaign and a $35,000 reduction from the Kenai Senior Center, which will use grants instead of city funds to cover certain project costs.

Between additional allocations and deductions, the budget amendments result in a spending increase of about $18,000.

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander said during an April 24 budget work session with the council that he would be introducing a budget amendment that would add $53,000 to the city’s marketing campaign, which he said would be “an investment in the future” of Kenai.

“It helps generate revenues for the city for that long-term sustainability,” Ostrander said during the work session. “We feel that increasing this marketing is a one-time thing almost because it is a pilot project, but also tied into the fact that we’re coming out of COVID-19.”

As part of their budget action, the council will also vote to set the city’s FY22 mill rate. The city expects to maintain its mill rate of 4.35, which is consistent with past rates, according to the budget. 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.

In all, the City of Kenai is projecting around $38.6 million in government revenue and just under $50 million in government expenditures, which includes about $13.2 million in capital project appropriations from previous years. The budget would also commit about $4.8 million to Kenai’s Capital Improvement Plan, which outlines capital projects the city would like to address over the next five years.

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank said last month that the city was able to use some of its CARES Act funding to pay for public safety staffing, which now means the city has more money to put toward capital projects.

Public testimony on the city budget can be provided in person during Wednesday’s council meeting or via Zoom. The council meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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

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