Citizens need to help council find creative ways to fund services

  • Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:56pm
  • News

Thank you, Homer City Council.

Let’s hope this week’s discussion and council vote will preserve the seasonal sales tax exemption on nonprepared food items for good. Canning this perennial discussion is long overdue.

Like others who testified Monday night, we believe a tax on food is regressive.

But more importantly, citizens voted for this tax holiday. Council members need to listen, and they did Monday night.

That, however, doesn’t solve the council’s dilemma of how to provide for services citizens may want if citizens are unwilling to pay for them — at least unwilling to pay for them through a year-round food tax.

The seasonal food tax exemption, however, doesn’t necessarily mean city services eventually must be cut.

It just means the council — and citizens — need to be more creative about how to pay for those city services. Just as residents and small businesses have had to adapt to a changing and tough economy in recent years, the city may need to make additional adjustments. Citizens have been clear that at least one of those adjustments should be left off the table for consideration: the tax holiday on food.

As others have said, the council has other tools at its disposal.

Citizens have an obligation, however, to let the council know what tools the council should be considering, what they are willing to pay for and what they wouldn’t mind seeing cut. The math is really simple: Services can’t cost the city more than the revenue that comes into the city’s coffers. 

Without citizens and the council engaging in a discussion that includes other sources of revenue or potential cuts, the only option left to the council will be just saying “no” to all but essential services.

Keeping the sales tax holiday on food presents the opportunity for Homer — citizens and council alike — to be more creative in how the city’s financial resources are managed.

Plan for the worst

Last weekend’s rescue of an experienced Homer snowmachiner is a cautionary tale for all who venture into the Kenai Peninsula’s wild country: Things can go wrong even if the outing is scheduled to be a short one and you know what you’re doing.

As the adage goes, hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Dress for changing weather. Have food. Have water. Have survival gear. And always let a reliable friend or family member know where you’re going and when you plan to be back.

When someone doesn’t return as scheduled, those reliable friends and family members should never hesitate to call Alaska State Troopers. 

People shouldn’t be embarrassed to report someone missing who then shows up a few minutes later.

“We’d much rather get that call five minutes later saying somebody showed up,” says Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters.

The weekend search and rescue also was a great reminder of the wonderful community we live in. Thanks to all who participated in the search and helped write its happy ending.






More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read