Borough Residents Against Annexation President Matthew Lay encourages the Soldotna City Council to postpone a vote to move forward with annexation efforts until after the city has elected new council members and a new mayor, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough Residents Against Annexation President Matthew Lay encourages the Soldotna City Council to postpone a vote to move forward with annexation efforts until after the city has elected new council members and a new mayor, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna moves ahead with annexation, exempts K-Beach

The city council approved a substitute resolution, which removes two areas along K-Beach Road.

The City of Soldotna voted to move forward with its efforts to annex areas near its city limits, with the exception of the areas along Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The city council approved a substitute resolution, which removes areas 4 and 5 — the two annexation areas along K-Beach Road — from the petition and authorizes the city manager to send that amended petition to the Local Boundary Commission, the state entity with the authority to change and create municipal boundaries.

The areas in the substitute resolution approved to move forward in the annexation process include an area near the Soldotna Airport along Funny River Road; an area including and near the Tsalteshi Trails and Skyview Middle School; an area that includes a business corridor along the Kenai Spur Highway, ending near Big Eddy Road; and an area along Funny River Road.

Council member Tim Cashman sponsored the substitute resolution. He said there are things that the city isn’t ready to deal with.

“I’m aware there are concerns in the K-Beach area, that’s why I wanted to bring it forward,” Cashman said during the meeting.

The council voted unanimously to send their amended petition to the state.

Council member Tyson Cox was barred from voting on the original resolution, due to a conflict of interest since he owned property in the K-Beach area. Since the K-Beach area was removed from the petition, Cox was allowed to vote.

Members of the public who spoke during the resolution’s public hearing Thursday night said they weren’t satisfied with the city’s substitute resolution. Residents in the annexation areas encouraged the council to postpone the vote until after the election of new city council members, and after Soldotna’s special election for a new mayor in December.

“Why does this have to happen now?” Borough Residents Against Annexation President Matthew Law asked the council Thursday night.

In June 2018, the Soldotna City Council passed a resolution to start drafting a petition to annex seven areas adjacent to the city limits.

The action was postponed two weeks ago at the last Soldotna City Council meeting. During the Sept. 12 meeting, Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen told the council and the audience in the council chambers that several possible amendments to the petition were presented to the administration, and more time would be necessary to implement any changes to the petition.

The petition to annex areas around the city has seen backlash from area residents. In a Soldotna city public hearing held Sept. 7, more than 30 residents spoke against the city’s efforts to annex, while only one resident spoke in support.

In the petition, the city said it’s hoping to annex nearby areas as a way to respond to growth and development and to more accurately align the city’s corporate boundaries with the community that has developed since the city’s incorporation in 1960.

Through annexation, Soldotna will have the opportunity to glean millions in tax revenue from additional businesses and residents.

Soldotna said annexation could benefit residents by giving them a voice in city government and lowering property tax rates. Residents in Soldotna pay 8.06 mills, or 0.9 mills less than the tax rate paid by borough residents (8.96 mills) within the territory proposed for annexation, according to the petition.

Residents being annexed would also have access to city services, including parks and recreation, a library, animal control, water and waste water utilities, comprehensive zoning, economic development incentives, local police protection and building code review and inspections for commercial and residential construction.

Residents in the areas proposed for annexation have said they would like to vote on the matter. State law allows municipalities to expand their boundaries through the legislative review process or through voter approval.

The legislative process requires municipalities to send a petition to the Local Boundary Commission, and from there the Local Boundary Commission may present proposed changes to the Legislature during the first 10 days of any regular session. Unless the recommendation is denied, any changes will be approved 45 days after the initial presentation or at the end of the session, whichever comes first.

More in News

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the Alaska House of Representatives on Saturday rejected the budget bill passed by the Senate earlier in the week. The bill will now go to a bicameral committee for negotiations, but the end of the legislative session is Wednesday.
House votes down Senate’s budget as end of session nears

State budget now goes to negotiating committee

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Candidate for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tara Sweeney, a Republican, was in Juneau on Monday and sat down with the Empire for an interview. Sweeney said the three main pillars of her campaign are the economy, jobs and healthy communities.
Sweeney cites experience in run for Congress

GOP candidate touts her history of government-related work

One tree stands in front of the Kenai Post Office on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai taking down hazard beetle trees

The city hopes to leverage grant funds for most of the work

Former Alaska governor and current congressional hopeful Sarah Palin speaks with attendees at a meet-and-greet event outside of Ginger’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Palin brings congressional bid to Soldotna

The former governor took time Saturday to sign autographs and take pictures with attendees

In this October 2019 photo, Zac Watt, beertender for Forbidden Peak Brewery, pours a beer during the grand opening for the Auke Bay business in October 2019. On Sunday, the Alaska House of Representatives OK’d a major update to the state’s alcohol laws. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Graphic by Ashlyn O'Hara
Borough, school district finalizing $65M bond package

Efforts to fund maintenance and repairs at school district facilities have been years in the making

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the House Majority Coalition spent most of Friday, May 13, 2022, in caucus meetings at the Alaska State Capitol, discussing how to proceed with a large budget bill some have called irresponsible. With a thin majority in the House of Representatives, there’s a possibility the budget could pass.
State budget work stretches into weekend

Sessions have been delayed and canceled since Wednesday

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Alaskans for Better Government members La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson and ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Barbara Blake embrace on the floor of the Alaska State Senate following the passage of House Bill 123, a bill to formally recognize the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.
Tribal recognition bill clears Senate, nears finish line

Senators say recognition of tribes was overdue

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain crew responds to a fire burning near Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Cooper Landing Emergency Services)
Officials encourage residents to firewise homes

The central peninsula has already had its first reported fires of the season

Most Read