Petersburg meeting strikes cash round in ultimate finances

The Petersburg District will try to replace the logs that provide shelter from the wind and waves at Banana Point on the southern end of Mitkof Island. (Joe Viechnicki / KFSK)

Petersburg district assembly made some changes to the final district budget, which it approved on Monday. This includes some design work for a secluded boat ramp and dock, snow removal for Papke’s landing pad, and some cash to maintain two public toilets.

The budget for the fiscal year beginning in July puts the districts spending at $ 9.7 million in the total fund, only slightly higher than last year. And like last year, this budget is also using reserves to balance expenses and income. The district built those savings by using federal emergency aid towards the salaries of first responders and other district workers during the pandemic.

The assembly changes mostly move money from one planned use to another or use some savings, but do not add to the overall fund spending.

Congregation member Dave Kensinger suggested paying up to $ 40,000 for conceptual plans. They would consider upgrading or replacing the breakwater at the Banana Point boat ramp on southern Mitkof Island and the dock at Papke’s Landing about 10 miles south of Petersburg.

“I think anyone who uses these facilities will see that they are very important to the economic viability of the region,” said Kensinger. “They are very important to people who are relaxing in the area, and they are not used by a specific part of the community, but by the entire district.”

Kensinger said the planning is a starting point and could help the district grant land through a federal infrastructure bill. The design work would be funded from the district’s land development fund. This is money that is made available to buy or improve land or buildings.

Mayor Mark Jensen noted that despite some previous talks to transfer some to local government, the docks and boat ramps remain the property of the state.

“I think that’s what worries me if we don’t have permission to continue working, apply this design to the facility, when we don’t have rights to it,” Jensen said.

The vote was 5-1 in favor of this change, with Jensen voting no and Jeigh Stanton Gregor not voting at the meeting.

The meeting also approved a proposal by staff to increase the budget for replacing the sewerage system on Ira II Street. The contract for this work goes to the local company Rock N Road.

Another budget change was to provide revenue from the borough’s maritime passenger ship fee for cleaning two public toilet trailers this summer. This fund includes approximately $ 50,000 from a fee for cruise lines investing here.

Kensinger suggested this budget direction, thinking that it would be a good use of the revenue from these cruise lines.

“This is a really easy sale to these companies as their passengers have to use the restroom,” he said. “And right now, as it has been in recent years, much of the toilet use has fallen on local businesses in the city and they are ultimately bearing the cost of cleaning their toilets and providing those supplies. And if you have a designated location right in the center of the city, I think you will eliminate a lot of the conflicts that have arisen in finding a place for the toilets in the city. ”

It is not yet clear whether a county employee or a private contractor would do this work. Jensen was also the only one no-vote to this change.

It was a unanimous vote to spend $ 10,000 from a district emergency fund that will be given to members of the emergency response center for their work during the pandemic. This money could usually be spent on unforeseen expenses.

Congregation member Bob Lynn suggested that $ 10,000 be removed from the roadside budget to pay for snow plowing at Papke’s Landing. This contractually agreed work was financed in the last budget, but was not included in this year’s personnel proposal. Lynn said the service was promised with the district formation in 2013 and only Jeff Meucci voted no.

The overall budget was accepted at 5: 1 and Mayor Jensen was the only opponent.

“There are several reasons why I will not support the budget as I did not in the second reading and that of the fire truck,” said Jensen. “And the change was made on first reading to get more funding for the KFSK, even though they are getting a few hundred thousand dollars from the federal government, and I have problems with some of those changes that were made just today. Therefore I will not support the changed budget. “

The plan calls for a fire truck to be replaced for up to $ 650,000. Various district offices make regular payments into a vehicle fleet fund to cover the high anticipated costs of this and other vehicles used by the district workers. The KFSK receives an increase in its district funding from this budget as well as a one-off payment of over $ 203,000 in emergency federal aid. The radio station has lost its government funding, approximately $ 88,000 for each of the past two years.

In a separate vote, the assembly also approved a property tax rate for the coming year – with the same rate for property owners in supply area one and a slight increase for the rest of the district. And although the new fiscal year is only a few weeks away, the district still has no final word on government funding. But the local government does not expect any school project debt to be repaid this year either and plans to fill this gap with reserves.