On Wednesday night, as the board voted to send its 2013 budget to the borough assembly, it also agreed to send a protest to that same assembly.
The protest comes after borough staff sent a letter saying the service area will have to share in the settlement of cost overruns to a project in the service area. More than $62,000 will be subtracted from the service area’s accounts to pay for those overruns.
The problem isn’t the overrun — the service area has at least $500,000 in reserves — it’s that the service area board wasn’t consulted before the deduction.
“It’s irritating to me that the chair wasn’t contacted or anyone else on the board,” said board chairman Scott Arndt. “I wasn’t pleased at all the service district board wasn’t included in any of the discussions.”
“If we don’t get up there and speak, we’re not doing what we were sworn to do,” agreed vice chairman Dennis Symmons.
Other board members said they felt the service district should not be held accountable for a situation they felt they weren’t involved with. Arndt will deliver his protest at tonight’s borough assembly meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the assembly chambers on Mill Bay Road.
The service area’s 2013 budget passed smoothly in a separate measure. It calls for spending $368,000, mostly on snow removal and road maintenance.
“It’s almost exactly the same as last year, except for the increased assessment due to property taxes,” Arndt said.
The 1.5 mill tax rate levied on property owners in the district, which encompasses most of urban Kodiak not within city limits, is expected to stay flat. The biggest difference between the 2012 and 2013 budgets is an increase of $10,000 in snow removal expenses, which will be paid for as rising property values generate more tax revenue in the district.
The increase is being partly driven by this winter, which has seen the district go more than $100,000 over its snow removal budget, with winter only two-thirds complete. Arndt said the fiscal gap can be handled by the district’s fund balance, which was intended to always contain at least one year’s operating expenses.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiak