Assembly revisits moving hospital service area boundary

The debate over who has to pay property taxes to which of the borough’s hospitals is getting into gear again.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its meeting on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that, if approved, would ask voters if the line between the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area and the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area should move south. Only voters in the current Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area and in the area proposed to be moved into that service area could vote on it.

The ordinance, proposed by assembly member Dale Bagley, is meant to remedy a long-standing dissatisfaction from some area residents who say they pay property taxes to South Peninsula Hospital but regularly use Central Peninsula Hospital. The difference in the mill rate between the two service areas is substantial — Central Peninsula Hospital’s service area carries a 0.01 mill levy, while South Peninsula Hospital’s is 2.3 mills. On a $200,000 home, that calculates to about $2 for Central Peninsula Hospital’s service area and $230 for South Peninsula Hospital’s service area.

The community of Ninilchik falls roughly halfway between the two hospitals, and Bagley wrote in his memo that it can be assumed most of the people in the Ninilchik area and to the north of the halfway point use Central Peninsula Hospital.

“In my view, those people should not pay taxes for the (South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area) which are much higher than the taxes paid for the (Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area),” he wrote in his memo to the assembly.

The assembly didn’t discuss the ordinance much during the regular meeting Tuesday, introducing it on the consent agenda and setting it for public hearing at the May 1 meeting in Soldotna.

To read the rest of this Peninsula Clarion story, click here.

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