KODIAK — Budget concerns dominated a wide-ranging Tuesday night work session of the Kodiak City Council.
City council members and Kodiak Mayor Carolyn Floyd discussed the effects of the borough’s decision to send a 1 percent sales tax proposal to voters, funding proposals for city nonprofits, and proposals to raise additional revenue for the city.
The application process by which nonprofits can get access to 1 percent of general fund revenue took up much of the discussion. This year, the city can disburse up to $118,112, and applications equaled approximately that amount.
Under normal circumstances, a nonprofit applies in one of four categories and the amount given to an individual group can go up or down only 10 percent each year.
Public radio station KMXT, which has received funding under the public safety category because it broadcasts emergency messages, applied for an additional $5,000 under the “adult recreation category,” something that raised the eyebrows of council member Charlie Davidson.
“I’m not against public radio,” he said, “but funding their $5,000 request and calling it adult recreation …”
Other council members agreed that allowing organizations to apply under multiple categories could be gaming the system.
“We absolutely need to clarify this for the next go-around, because there are loopholes in the policy,” council member John Whiddon said. “Is that fair to new agencies?”
After the nonprofit discussion concluded, city finance director Mary Munk presented a report on the city’s progress toward collecting derelict business sales taxes. A 2005 change in city code, based on a similar code in Juneau, allows the city to take tardy businesses to civil court.
“We’ve never implemented it yet, so that would be the next step,” Munk said. “There’s five accounts that meet that criteria.”
To improve accountability, city staff also recommends business licenses be required in the city of Kodiak, city manager Aimée Kniaziowski said.
The moves are part of a proposal by the city council in February to look at ways to increase revenue, something particularly important given the unknown effects a borough sales tax could have.
The city council briefly discussed possible effects of the 1 percent sales tax proposal, which will appear on the October municipal ballot. Kniaziowski said city staff can’t recommend a borough proposal to have the city organize sales tax collection borough-wide.
“We do not have the people, we have a funky home-grown database,” she said. “And I believe it would just be an extreme strain on the city and the finance department.”
In addition, Kniaziowski said the borough would be required by state law to collect taxes for each city within its jurisdiction, then distribute that revenue at no charge.
The city council appeared to approve of that approach, with council member Pat Branson saying, “We just wait and see what happens, and show us the money.”
The city council will hold a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Assembly Chambers, 710 Mill Bay Road.