The Kenai Peninsula Borough will now recover some of the money it spends on providing administrative support to service areas. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday that will reestablish a 2.5-percent fee as a way to pay for borough staff time.
The resolution is similar to another passed in 2006 that was later eliminated in the 2010 budget.
The fee each service area pays will vary, and will be 2.5 percent of their total budget. The fee is intended to help the borough cover the costs of services such as legal, human resources, payroll, and cash receipts. The borough estimates it will receive $600,000 annually from the move.
Mayor Charlie Pierce said it was only fair that borough would charge service areas.
“We've included everybody in the process, and that was where we came to the conclusion that service areas should participate and help us pay the bills as they generate costs,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting.
He added that service areas with larger operating budgets will pay more, but in Homer it will be comparatively small.
“Larger service [areas] with more tax base that's picking up the bulk of this, and Homer specifically it's $5,300 and some change,” Pierce explained. “Again, I don't think anyone should be held exempt from helping us to participate as residents of the borough, services being provided [through] the borough.”
Assembly member Kelly Cooper asked the assembly to change the resolution to say up to 2.5 percent because the assembly could change the percentage during the budgeting process. But the assembly voted it down.
Some service area board members testified to ask for more time to evaluate the fee, which assembly member Willy Dunne agreed with.
“We haven't heard from all the service areas. The South Peninsula Hospital Service Board has not even had a chance to discuss it,” Dunne said. “They had a committee meeting with the mayor, but the board itself has not addressed this issue. I would have liked to have heard from more service area boards.”
The resolution passed 7 to 2 with Paul Fischer and Dunne voting no.