Soldotna talks capital projects, budget

  • Thursday, April 14, 2016 9:34pm
  • News

The City of Soldotna is gearing up to work on its budget in the wake of revenue decreases, including taking a look at what kind of capital projects it will be able to afford in the coming years.

City Engineer Kyle Kornelis presented an updated draft of the Five Year Capital Plan to the council at a work session before its Wednesday meeting. It outlines projects identified and prioritized by the city as needed from 2016 through 2020, including a timeline of when they might be accomplished and how much they might cost.

Kornelis called the plan a living document and said it will likely look different by the time the city’s capital budget is finalized in June.

“It’s essentially … a planning and budgeting document that allows us to forecast and anticipate some of our needs and adjust them such that we balance our available man power and available funding and scheduling,” he said.

Capital projects identified for 2016 include upgrades to the Soldotna Police Department impound and evidence building, as well as the purchase of a front-end loader for the airport. Several of the projects originally listed under 2016 have already been funded, and include street lighting improvement on West Marydale Avenue and a phase of the city’s Downtown Improvement Plan that will update wayfinding and other signage.

The projects are prioritized by how soon the city needs them accomplished, Kornelis said. The farther out in the plan projects are listed, the less refined they are, he said.

“There can be projects that we identify as wish list projects, if you will, and … some of them require significant outside funding sources in order to be accomplished,” Kornelis said.

These projects are still included in the five-year plan because, even if it is unrealistic that they will be accomplished soon, adding them to the list gives them credibility, he said.

Some council members commented that they are not confident much funding will be made available for capital projects from the state.

“Everybody knows that … the capital projects as we know them — they don’t exist anymore,” said City Manager Mark Dixon.

Kornelis explained that funding for the projects on the five-year plan can come from a number of sources, including grants, the general and utility funds and federal funding.

Council member Paul Whitney expressed a wish for greater focus on city streets in terms of capital improvements.

“It seems like this winter the roads have suffered worse than normal with the freeze (and) thaw, a lot of water sitting around and a lot of these roads really getting torn up,” Whitney said.

Kobuk Street is included in the five-year capital plan as a road in need of maintenance, and Whitney asked if that project would include improvement to its intersection with Redoubt Avenue.

Kornelis said the intersection, which has been identified as a problem area, will be taken care of this sometime this summer.

The council set a work session for its budget for 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 3. During Wednesday’s meeting, Dixon said the city administration is considering a mill rate increase to help offset decreasing revenue.

“As I said last time, we’re at the bottom of the food chain and we don’t have much to defend ourselves (with) right now,” Dixon told the council. “Right now I have in the budget increasing the mill rate from .5 to 2.0, which is a fourfold increase.”

The mill rate increase would still leave the city about $900,000 “underwater,” Dixon said.

“I’m not planning going forward to do anything drastic because I think we have a lot of good momentum going on in the city and we have significant reserves,” he said. “We have them so we can continue to provide the same level of services in these valleys of economic downturn.”

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

Gary Porter, owner of Bald Mountain Air Service, stands in front of his Twin Otter airplane Friday, Oct. 22. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
City Council passes aircraft flat tax rate

The Homer City Council held a public hearing for Ordinance 21-62 concerning a flat tax on aircrafts.

Amelie Bignell, of Soldotna, drops a treat in the bucket of Hayden Jones, of Soldotna, on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a “trunk-or-treat” event at Orca Theatre on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Alaska. Jones was dressed as Vampirina. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
All Halloween all weekend

A sinister performance, pumpkin carving contest, food drive, pet microchip event and multiple trick-or-treats are on the docket.

Bill Elam (center) nominates Brent Hibbert to be president of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Johnson elected assembly president; Hibbert to be vice president

Prior to Tuesday, Johnson, who represents Kasilof, served as the assembly’s vice president.

Homer Senior Citizen Center residents participated in a worldwide Televeda bingo event to set a Guinness world record on Friday, Oct. 22. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer senior citizens help break world record

The game was held to fight against social isolation in senior communities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
State hospitalizations still on the rise

Despite a decrease in cases, the state is still seeing hospitalization surge.

The Seward welcome sign is photographed in July 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward vice mayor and council member resigns

The council accept the resignation of Tony Baclaan during its Monday night meeting.

Ben Mohr watches Kenai River Junior Classic participants head out to fish on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Mohr resigns as director of KRSA

He has been the executive director of KRSA for nearly three years.

Heather and Hunter Phillips walk through the Kenai Community Library Haunted Hunt with their mom Kumi Phillips on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Scary reads

Spooky literary characters come to life at Kenai library haunted house.

Most Read