The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly worked through a relatively light agenda Tuesday night.
The final public hearing for an ordinance to put a bed tax on next year’s ballot has been postponed until March. The assembly also tabled an ordinance finalizing the use of revenue bonds for upgrades at Central Peninsula Hospital. It was a vote on a special assessment district in Kasilof that got a lot of the assembly’s attention. A natural gas main line was installed this year and, like in other areas of the Peninsula that have recently gained access to gas, not everyone sees the value.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, but I’ll never take advantage of it," Raymond Davis told the assembly.
He owns two parcels in the new special assessment district. That makes his bill to the borough more than ten thousand dollars. He’s set up now to use mainly wood and fuel oil for heat.
“It’s kind of a financial hardship because it’s more like extortion. You’re bringing it in and then we have to pay for it whether we use it or not and I don’t feel that I should be responsible for that, or some of my neighbors who are in opposition as well. I own two lots so it’s a double hardship for me, so I would like you to take that into consideration and terminate my assessment.”
In whatever area is proposed for a special assessment district, 60 percent of those property owners have to sign a petition to get the project, in this case a natural gas line, up and running. For this area, almost 80 percent of property owners said yes.
The borough says 39 parcels will benefit from the gas line at a total cost of more than $220,000. Paul Vos says it’s not much benefit to him.
He says he signed the petition initially because he was told the line was coming regardless. After seeing Enstar’s billing rates for things like customer service charges in addition to gas he’s not going to use, he started sending letters to the mayor.
“That was the thing that really ignited my protest against the whole thing at the end. But I still didn’t like the idea of having to purchase a product I don’t want. We moved to Kasilof 11 or 12 years ago. I built a house that was designed to be heated with wood. I’m perfectly happy with that and contented with it.”
Despite those objections, though, the assembly voted unanimously in support of the special assessment district. Property owners can pay the whole bill interest free in the next 30 days, or in installments over the next 10 years.