Council decides against raising the City of Kodiak’s mill rate

Mitch Borden/KMXT

Residents of the City of Kodiak won’t see an increase in the city’s mill rate, at least for now. For weeks, the Kodiak City Council has been discussing doubling the mill rate to raise funds to help maintain the city’s aging infrastructure. But at its last regular meeting, the council voted unanimously to keep the mill rate at two mills, which has been Kodiak’s rate since the 1980’s.

Councilman Rich Walker didn’t want to increase property taxes because he doesn’t know if the city truly needs the money.

“We increased the sales tax cap, we tightened up our exemptions and are working hard to collect revenues owed to the city. And I take the position, let’s see how that all works before we go increasing more taxes in our community.”

Even though all the council members voted to keep the mill rate at two mills, there were still a few who thought the city should increase it. Councilman Gabe Saravia thinks the city often puts off raising taxes until it can’t afford to not increase them.

“We always behind in everything. We no want to raise taxes in the right time. We no want to raise the harbor fees at the right time. And every time we raise something that’s in the time we have no choice or when the time we deep in the hole already, and that’s the problem.”

Even though the majority of the council members believe money needs to be raised to support Kodiak’s infrastructure, most agreed that the region’s facing too many challenges, like the Pacific cod decline in the Gulf of Alaska, to shoulder an increase in taxes.

Currently, city staff is trying to prepare the city’s budget for fiscal year 2019 without the mill rate increase it had previously worked into the budget. The council will approve a budget for the city later this year.

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