Soldotna will move forward in its exploration of annexation for areas around the city with the help of $50,000 to get a better sense of how the public feels about it.
The Soldotna City Council unanimously voted at its Wednesday meeting to approve an ordinance that appropriates funds for the city to work with a consultant on a public engagement process. The amount was knocked down from $100,000, the amount proposed in the original ordinance, when council member Regina Daniels motioned to cut the dollar amount in half.
This was after a presentation and explanation of the city’s plan and procedure for exploring the feasibility of annexation by City Manager Mark Dixson, and after several members of the public in areas just outside the city weighed in with comments that were against the idea of annexation. Some commenters specifically took issue with the amount of money originally proposed to be spent on engaging with the public.
Daniels’ motion to reduce the amount to $50,000 was approved by a 4-2 vote. In explaining her motion, Daniels said the city council could come back to the issue and appropriate more money down the road if $50,000 turned out to be insufficient.
City administration will work with a consultant using the funds to host public meetings, disseminate information about its process in looking into annexation and gather public input.
— Megan Pacer