Seasonal sales tax, HART funds favored city revenue options

Attendees of a Homer town hall meeting last week favored raising funds for the city’s empty coffers with a seasonal sales tax or a temporary dip into taxes earmarked for roads and trails over a year-round sales tax or property tax increase.
Some 50 community members — most city residents — attended the meeting Wednesday night, hearing from Homer City Manager Katie Koester on the state of the city’s $1 million-plus budget shortfall. Koester laid out the most viable options identified by city staff for raising money to quell the shortfall, as well as the option not to raise additional revenue and what that would look like as far as a reduction in city services.

Warrior class gets young Vets involved in community

The first thing you notice about Kurt Leffler, co-owner of The Homer Gym, is that his arms are as big around as tree trunks and he looks capable of snapping a full grown spruce in two. As the founder of the Warrior Class, his physical strength pales in relation to the mental strength of his commitment to the local community of Veterans, particularly younger ones who are trying to adjust to the cultural differences in the civilian world and the structure of the armed forces.

Update – PSP found in Peterson Bay

Paralytic Shellfish Poison has been found in Peterson Bay. Commercial Harvesting has been closed. The area will remain closed until three consecutive shellfish samples test below the 80µg/100g acceptable regulatory level.

Ochoa takes first-ever Halibut Hustle

After trekking uphill along eight miles of road and trail on Saturday to win the 2015 Rescue Run, Pedro Ochoa donned his running shoes once again Sunday morning to take first in the Halibut Hustle.
Offered as part of the weekend’s Halibut Festival activities, the 5-kilometer run on the Homer Spit saw nearly 60 runners and walkers hoofing it for halibut.

PSP found in Halibut Cove shellfish

Tests have found paralytic shellfish poison in shellfish from Halibut Cove last week prompting state officials to warn against personal harvesting of shellfish in the region until the bloom of algae ends.
George Scanlan, shellfish permit coordinator with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said the samples of shellfish containing paralytic shellfish poison were collected Sept. 13, prompting the state to suspend sales of shellfish from that commercial operator until three clean samples were obtained. Shellfish growers in other regions of Kachemak Bay, however, were unaffected, though their shellfish was being closely monitored. Scanlan said other growers in the bay were testing each lot of oysters and mussels harvested before they were sold commercially, but no harmful algae was found in any of the samples from outside of Halibut Cove.

Forum clarifies candidates stance on budget, issues facing city

From marijuana clubs to climate change, the candidates for two Homer City Council seats voiced their opinions about the many factors and facets of life in Homer to an audience of voters last week.
The candidates forum, moderated by Michael Hawfield and held at the Homer Public Library, drew a crowd of Homer residents with plenty of questions for five of the six running candidates. Bob Howard was unable to attend the forum, but Joni Wise, Donna Aderhold, Heath Smith, Tom Stroozas and incumbent Beauregard Burgess all weighed in on their vision for Homer’s future. Candidate Michael Neece has unofficially withdrawn from the race, though his name will still appear on the ballot.

Celebrating Over a Decade of the World’s Best Docs!

The Homer Documentary Film Festival begins with the Gala Opening 6:15 p.m. Sept 24 at the  Homer Theatre on Pioneer Avenue. This year’s festival celebrates over a full decade of showing the current Year’s Best Documentaries from around the World. The Gala Opening will feature reindeer sausages grilled by local cowboys, guest speakers and a […]

Basket burns despite vandalism

Early Sunday morning, just hours before festivities were to begin for the 12th-annual Burning Basket ceremony, pieces of the 2015 “Reach” creation lay strewn across the Homer Spit. Volunteers gathered sections of the destroyed basket from the ditch along the road, and chased bundles of dry fireweed across Mariner Park.
The night before, someone had tried to torch it.

Council mulls revenue options

City council began this week to review its options for closing the current $1 million budget gap, considering everything from taxing internet sales to raising property taxes to bring the city out of the red. Many of the options will be presented at a meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at city hall.

Harbor load and launch ramp closes until December

Anyone who has backed their boat down the Homer Load and Launch Ramp in recent years has seen the problem. Pitted, worn out concrete with rebar showing through greet the hundreds of users of Homer’s harbor launch facility each summer, and most could see that repairs were in order. The price, however, is several months without an easy place to bring your boat in and out of the water in Homer.

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