Non-profits seek funding to continue providing community resources

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:10pm
  • News

Four non-departmental organizations made pitches to the finance committee for funding allocations in the Kenai Peninsula Borough fiscal year 2015 annual budget.

The draft budget currently calls for all four organizations to receive the same level of funding as they have for the past two years.

Non-departmentals are organizations such as non-profits that do not fall under a borough department or activity.

The borough assembly debated funding these organizations at a February meeting.

Assembly members Kelly Wolf, Wayne Ogle and Charlie Pierce sponsored a resolution to put an advisory vote on the 2014 ballot asking voters if the assembly should continue funding the organizations. The resolution drew a large crowd and more than one hour and 30 minutes of public comment — most of which was against the resolution. Wolf and Pierce cast the only votes in favor of it, so the resolution failed.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council is scheduled to get $300,000 from the borough.

Shanon Hamrick, KPTMC executive director, said the council, which works to promote tourism on the Kenai Peninsula, said it is requesting the same amount.

However, it is looking to become a self-sustaining non-profit and if that happens, KPTMC would no longer request general fund money, Hamrick said.

She said other state destinations are out-marketing the peninsula. Juneau has a $1 million budget, Fairbanks is at $2.9 million and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has a $900,000 budget. Along with the $300,000 from the borough general fund, KPTMC contributes about $275,000, she said.

To make the Kenai Peninsula more competitive, KPTMC is looking into implementing a bed tax. In 2005 voters considered a bed tax, but the measure failed. Hamrick said KPTMC has been speaking with local governments, the public, business and accommodation owners about trying again to establish a bed tax.

Using 2013 taxable sales figures, KPTMC calculated that a 4 percent bed tax would bring in $2.8 million.

She said 4 percent was chosen because Seward has a 4 percent bed tax and the “playing field” would be level borough wide, if implemented.

Bed tax collected within cities would go back to them. Of the $1.3 million that would be generated in unincorporated areas, she said KPTMC suggests 80 percent of the money would go back to whichever agency the borough chooses to market the peninsula. The remaining would go to the general fund.

She said the about $1 million that KPTMC would receive from the bed tax would, if passed, would be comparable to other areas.

 

The draft budget has set funding for the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District at $50,000. The last time the organization saw more than that amount was for $90,000 in FY2013.

The organization works to support businesses by helping to develop plans and provide training opportunities along with other services.

Rick Roeske, KPEDD executive director, said “Situations and Prospects,” a document about economic trends, is outdated and KPEDD is seeking additional funding to update it.

“KPEDD proposes to recreate the format into newer graphics and presentation style,” Roeske said … “This more traditional econometrics model will provide the community decision makers both in the private sector and as well as governmental the necessary tools given the fast-paced environment presenting itself in the Nikiski area.”

He said the update needs to be done now before the proposed Alaska Pipeline Project becomes a reality. He said the organization plans to have the document available on flash drives and in printed booklet form.

Roeske said KPEDD is requesting about the same funding as last year, as well as an additional $75,000 to produce an updated “Situations and Prospects.” He said that figure includes collecting data, printing and distributing.

He said KPEDD still gets many requests for the outdated document as well as where to get a current copy.

 

Central Area Rural Transit System, a non-profit, door-to-door demand response service, is scheduled to get $25,000.

Jennifer Beckmann, CARTS executive director, asked assembly members at the finance committee meeting Tuesday for $50,000, which she said is the amount the organization regularly requests. She said the $25,000 CARTS received last year represents about 2 percent of the organization’s budget.

Beckmann said the organization typically requests funding from the cities of Kenai and Soldotna. However, CARTS missed the deadline for Kenai this year. She spoke to the assembly about the organization and its growth during the past year.

“It’s been an interesting year,” she said.

The organization hit 200 rides for the first time one day last year, and now it’s the norm. On May 1, the company had a record day with 271 trips, she said.

CARTS began operating in Homer in the fall and provided 1,185 rides, Beckmann said.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” Beckmann said. “That was a long, long, long time coming. And we’re still working to refine that program, but we’re glad that it’s up and running.”

She said the organization is working with Seward to start running CARTS there.

 

The draft budget allocates $105,000 for the Small Business Development Center.

Bryan Zak, regional director for Southwest Alaska SBDC, said the organization is continuing to grow and said a three-year funding schedule would help the organization to better serve clients.

SBDC provides counseling, workshops and advocacy for small businesses. Zak said he travels to different communities throughout the peninsula to provide support.

He said if the borough provides funding for three years at a time, it would help SBDC to more strategically provide services to businesses.

“We have this economy that we need to maintain and encourage and prosper,” Zak said. … “It provides jobs and all of those jobs that are there, all of these small businesses, each contribute in so many ways to our daily lives.”

The Southwest Alaska SBDC is one of seven regions in Alaska. He said the organization is hosted by the University of Anchorage Alaska, so students are utilized to work on business plans.

 

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Aging school on the brink

Renovations are cost prohibitive at Soldotna Elementary

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, delivers a speech on the U.S. House floor before Thursday’s vote approving her first bill, establishing an Office of Food Security in the Department of Veterans Affairs. It passed the House by a 376-49 vote, although its fate in the Senate is undetermined. (Screenshot from official U.S. House video)
Poll: Peltola’s a popular pol

Food for vets bill passes House, pollster says she is “the most popular figure in Alaska right now.”

A parking sign awaits the new executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund at its Juneau headquarters, Three finalists will be interviewed for the job during a public meeting Monday by the fund’s board of trustees, who are expected to deliberate and announce the new director immediately afterward. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Interviews, selection of new Permanent Fund CEO set for Monday

Three finalists seeking to manage $73.7B fund to appear before trustees at public meeting in Juneau

Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Split siding at SoHi

The damage has been given patchwork treatment over the years

Most Read