Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:39 PM on Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kachemak City to vote on tax hike in October

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

The seven-member Kachemak City Council gave unanimous consent July 13 to ask voter approval for a one mill increase of real property tax, $100 per $100,000 of assessed value. The proposition will be on the Oct. 4 municipal ballot, but the increase, if passed by city voters, won't go into effect anytime soon.

The proposition reads:

Shall the City of Kachemak increase the rate of its real property tax by one mill (0.1percent) commencing January 1 of the year following the completion of a natural gas transmission line from Anchor Point to the City, to finance part of the coast of natural gas distribution system to the City?

"The increase wouldn't go through until the deal is completed," said Mayor Phil Morris, referring to funding to install a natural gas pipeline from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City.

The project was in the Legislature's version of the state's capital budget for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Gov. Sean Parnell vetoed all but $525,000 in the 2011 budget. The remaining amount funded a pressure regulation station near Anchor Point and laid pipe as far south as Chapman School. In March natural gas began flowing through a high-pressure distribution line from wells east of Anchor Point, north to Ninilchik and connecting with gas lines that carry the gas to Anchorage.

In June, Parnell vetoed the entire $10 million in the 2012 capital budget, which, if approved, would have brought the pipeline from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City. His reason for doing so: "reduce spending level — consider in future budget."

Morris believes a show of community support will help keep the project moving forward. When it does, Kachemak City will be ready to move forward as well.

"We still have to form a city-wide improvement district, but that isn't a big deal," said Morris.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.