Severence taxes, which are levied on fish, timber and minerals, are expected to generate more money than previously budgeted, thanks to rising fish prices. Those rising prices also are expected to generate a bigger share for Kodiak of the state’s raw fish tax. The result is an extra $584,000.
After extensive debate, the assembly asked finance director Karleton Short to draw up a modified budget that allocates an extra $33,000 to Kodiak College, $75,000 to the school district’s Ocean Science Discovery Program (now funded through the college), $28,000 to fund the Kodiak animal shelter, $48,000 in advance funding for capital projects and the rest to pay down future debts.
The provided figures were rounded, and Short said they will differ slightly in the precise budget.
During the debate, borough Mayor Jerome Selby suggested providing $300,000 in additional funding for the Kodiak Island Borough School District, enough to bring the borough’s school contribution to the amount it gave last year.
The proposal failed to get backing from a majority of members present at the meeting. Assembly member Louise Stutes said she favors sticking with the lower amount the council agreed to in January and again in May.
“They need to learn to live with what we say,” Stutes said.
Assembly member Tuck Bonney responded that from his perspective, keeping the money from the school district doesn’t make sense.
“If the school board asked why not, I wouldn’t have a good answer for them right now,” he said.
The borough assembly may still give the school district the extra money if it votes during its June 7 meeting to further amend the proposed budget.