The Kodiak City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed resolutions last week increasing various fees and tariffs. This was the first time in 14 years that many of the borough fees were raised.
The borough voted 4-2 to increase fees for zoning, subdividing land and solid waste disposal.
Assembly Members Scott Arndt, Dennis Symmons, Andy Schroeder and James Turner voted in favor of the fee changes, while Assembly Members Julie Kavanaugh and Rebecca Skinner voted against the changes.
“I truly feel that in today’s environment and COVID where municipalities and other places are waiving fees, it’s difficult for me to vote to increase any fees,” Kavanaugh said.
Despite a request from staff to increase the fees for freezer and refrigerator disposal because of the labor costs associated with removing those appliances, the assembly voted to keep the fee at $10 an item.
The assembly also voted to remove the fee for disposing of fluorescent light bulbs for residential customers. The largest increase was that of $200 for some subdivision fees.
At a recent meeting, Erin Welty, the community development director for the borough, said Assembly Member Duane Dvorak requested borough staff to investigate how much the Community Development Department made over the last year.
Staff found that the revenue made from fees collected in 2019 equaled less than 11% of the total budget for the Community Development and the Building Departments. Their budgets totaled $971,198 and 188,090, respectively.
Welty said that fees have not been changed in 14 years and that Kodiak’s fees were lower than those in other municipalities across the state.
“Staff compared existing fees to same or similar fees in five other Alaska municipalities. Those included Matsu, Sitka, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Kenai,” Welty wrote in a letter to the assembly. “Not all boroughs have the same fees as KIB (Kodiak Island Borough), but where they did, except for Sitka, KIB’s fees were typically lower (than) that (of) others.”
The fees come from the purchase of building permits, conditional use permits, zoning compliance permits, electric permits, plumbing permits, and planning and zoning review fees, among others.
At a Kodiak City Council meeting on June 11, council members voted to increase fees for leasing space to tie down aircraft by $122 to $500 per month. They also OK’d other fees at airport facilities such as entry access card fees for $50 and annual rents for numerous hangar lots that range from $500 to $1,350.
New ambulance transportation fees amount to $400 for non-emergency trips, and the return trip has increased $4 per mile to $15.00. Costs for ambulance standby services have also increased depending on the event.
The city also added new fire marshal fees for inspecting fire code violations, as well as for fire sprinkler and fire alarm inspections.
Fire Department response fees have also increased by $100 and more, with costs now ranging from $350 to $400 depending on the location and reason for the response.
City laboratory fees for water bacterial analysis have increased, and fees have been added to Parks and Recreation for adult volleyball and soccer.
However, library overdue late fees have been removed. The city also adopted a resolution postponing the implementation of the scheduled rate increase for harbor users for six months.