Council to Decide Grocery Tax Issue Tonight


     The Homer City Council meets tonight and one subject on the agenda promise to generate plenty of discussion. Council member Bryan Zak has proposed to reinstitute the city’s 4.5 percent sales tax on non-prepared foods during the winter months, reversing an action council took in 2008 when Kenai Peninsula Borough voters decided to do away with the borough’s tax between September 1st and May 31st of each year.

     Meanwhile, council member David Lewis has proposed to re-define which items fall into the category of “non-prepared foods.” Lewis would like to see several food items taken out, including ice cream, snack chips, soda, candy and microwavable frozen foods.

     Both proposals have caused a measure of controversy in Homer in recent weeks, with proponents saying the extra tax revenue would fund needed programs and opponents saying the tax increase unfairly targets the poor.

     At their last meeting November 26th, council members approved funding for several budget items, in the event the tax measure passes tonight. Among those items are extra money for the Homer Senior Center, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and a Cost of Living Allowance for city employees. Council members also approved a small pay raise for themselves.

      Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on KBBI. Public testimony on the tax items will begin when they are introduced. Both items are near the beginning of the agenda.