As provided in Chapter 3.18 of the Soldotna Municipal Code, special assessments are a way to finance the construction of public capital improvements which primarily benefit property owners in a limited geographical area. This distinguishes them from improvements which benefit the entire community, and are generally paid for with City funds or grants. The City's process for developing a special assessment district (SAD) was adopted by Ordinance 2012-022.
An assessment district can be initiated either by the City Council, or by application by a sponsor who collects the requisite number of property owner signatures on a petition. After the SAD has been initiated, the City will prepare additional materials and schedule a public hearing of the City Council and comment period. The City Council will make the final decision about whether the project moves forward, how the costs are to be shared among the City and individual properties, and what the payback terms are.
Municipal Matching Policy
The City's current policy on municipal matching funds - the amount of an SAD project that the City will cover the cost of - was established by Resolution 2013-011. According to this policy, the City will fund a minimum of 50% up to a maximum of 75% of the eligible project costs, with the remaining portion assessed to benefited property owners. In determining what the City's match will be on any project, the Council will consider the following criteria:
- Potential for reduced City cost and maintenance efforts as a result of the project;
- Increased development and/or employment potential in the community;
- Increased City revenues, for example through additional sales tax and/or real property tax as a result of the improvements;
- Whether the project is identified as a priority of the City, for example in teh 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), legislative priority list, Comprehensive Plan, or other City policy document;
- Whether grant funding has been secured to offset municipal expenditures; and
- Whether the project contributes aesthetic or other quality of life benefits to the community as a whole.
For More Information
Questions concerning establishing an assessment district can be directed to Stephanie Queen, Director of Planning and Community Development. Questions concerning assessment billing can be directed to the Finance Department at 907-262-9107.