Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:46 PM on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Group seeks to join Kachemak City

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

Unlike the controversial annexation of 2002 that added about 4 square miles to the city of Homer, don't expect to see "no annex" signs in a small piece of the Kenai Peninsula Borough proposed to be annexed to Kachemak City.

These residents want to annexed — unanimously.

A petition by Kachemak City Mayor Philemon Morris to the Alaska Local Boundary Commission seeks to add about 40 acres of unincorporated borough land to the small city north of the intersection of Kachemak Drive and East End Road. Ten residents in the Kachemak Estates subdivision on Morning Star Road have asked to join other subdivision residents in becoming part of the city.

In his petition, Morris cites that circumstance as the main reason why the 40 acres should be annexed. Morning Star Road runs from East End Road into Kachemak City. Halfway along the road it crosses city limits. Property owners on the north end live in the borough and pay property taxes of 1.40 mills for road maintenance and 2.25 mills for Kachemak Emergency Services, or $365 per $100,000 of assessed value. All Kachemak Estates subdivision owners also pay a fee for private road maintenance.

However, the borough doesn't maintain its portion of the road, Morris said in his petition. In effect, Kachemak Estates borough property owners pay twice for road service, the petition notes.

Under a contract with the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, Kachemak City receives fire and emergency services. To respond to the proposed annexed area, KES would respond from the McNeil Canyon Fire Hall 7.5 miles away, even though HVFD is 4.5 miles away.

If annexed, the property owners would pay 1 mill of Kachemak City property taxes on top of other borough taxes. The total Kachemak City property tax is 7.80 mills, as opposed to 10.45 for the Kachemak Emergency Services borough area — a 2.65 mill tax cut.

If the 40 acres is annexed, Kachemak City would gain $2,585 in annual tax revenues, KES would lose $5,818, and the borough would lose $3,620, according to the petition.

Because the annexation petition is unanimous, the process is streamlined, said Brent Williams, a local government specialist with the Local Boundary Commission.

"Everyone who's going to be directly affected wants in," he said.

Public comments on the petition can be made until 4:30 p.m. May 19. E-mail and fax comments can be sent, but must be followed up within 10 days by a hard copy mailed or delivered to the Local Boundary Commission. A public hearing will be July 21 in Anchorage, with participation by teleconference.

Send comments to: Local Boundary Commission, 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1770, Anchorage, AK 99501-3510, fax (907) 269-4539 and email LBC@alaska.gov.

For more information, visit www.commerce.state.ak.us/dca/lbc/lbc.htm.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.