Borough taxes and how to balance next year’s budget are back on the table for tonight’s regular Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting.
Tonight’s agenda includes setting next year’s mill rate for property taxes, changing the severance tax for fish and other resources, and adjusting the current year’s budget to account for actual costs and incomes.
Taxes and the budget have been especially contentious this year because of the shortfall in income and proposed cuts to school district funding. In addition, fishermen and others have criticized the severance tax increase for targeting a limited group of users and not the broad base the property tax hits.
Right now the mill rate is proposed at point-25 mills with an additional 7-point-75 mills for school funding, for a total of 8 mills. Additional mills are assessed depending on whether the property is inside a service district.
A mill is equal to $1 per every $1,000 of value on a property. So, if you’re home is assessed at $100,000, one mill would cost you $100 in property taxes. And an 8 mill tax rate would equal $800 per year in local property taxes.
Turning now to the severance tax… currently it is tied directly to the mill rate, but the borough is proposing un-linking it and charging a flat 1-point-25 percent of the gross value of the resource extracted from the borough.
Fishermen have argued that they shouldn’t be charged more than the mill rate on property. But borough mayor Jerome Selby explained at a previous assembly meeting that the intent is to define the severance tax as an extraction tax tied to the resource, not something connected it with real property.
Also on tonight’s agenda is a proposal to increase the cost of waste disposal. Borough director of engineering and facilities, Woody Koning, said a small increase is included in the contract. That is a given. But the assembly will consider a cost-of-living adjustment. He said it may be better to do incremental adjustments for cost-of-living rather than to wait and do one much bigger increase later.
On another note, the roll cart expansion discussion that was scheduled for tonight has been tentatively rescheduled to the June 16 regular meeting.
Tonight’s assembly meeting begins at 7:30 in the assembly chambers and KMXT will broadcast the meeting live.