The Kodiak City Council is seriously considering doubling its mill rate in the coming year to help it maintain Kodiak’s infrastructure. But as KMXT reports, the council is open to feedback from the public.
At a work session earlier this week, the Kodiak City Council discussed an upcoming vote to direct the city manager to include raising the city’s property tax from two mills to four in its budget for the upcoming year.
Currently, the city charges two mills, which has been the rate since the 1980’s. The proposed tax would help the city generate about one million more dollars annually, which the council believes will help the city maintain and update its infrastructure. Mayor Pat Branson told the council it’s very important for residents to understand why this increase is needed.
“The people don’t know the ins and outs of the city infrastructure and if we don’t maintain it, it’s going to cost more in the long run. We can’t delay some of these repairs that we have or to maintain what we have.”
The proposed mill rate would raise property taxes by two dollars per $1000 of a piece of land’s assessed value. According to city staff, the average house in Kodiak is worth about $300,000. If the mill rate goes up to four mills, taxes on a parcel assessed at that value would go up by about $600.
As the council contemplates a new mill rate, Mayor Branson says it needs to be transparent about its process.
“I think it’s very important that we show how this money is going to be spent because we’re all about infrastructure and the need out there. And until you drive on Birch Street you don’t think you realize how bad the streets are.”
If the council moves forward with the new mill rate, the increase would be built into the city’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins in July. It’d then be officially approved when the entire budget is voted on later this spring.
Councilman John Whiddon worries many residents won’t know about the possible mill rate increase until after its enacted.
“I’m a little concerned that it’s buried in the budget. In fact, it is buried in the budget and typically people don’t pay attention, they don’t come to speak to our budget. So, I’m hoping we can get broad dissemination for the public that we actually are contemplating a mill rate increase.”
The rest of the council agreed with Whiddon and scheduled a public hearing on raising the city’s property tax for March 22nd. The council will vote on whether the manager should build the city’s the proposed budget around a mill rate of four mills this Thursday at its regular meeting.