Soldotna could see return of grocery tax

KENAI — Soldotna residents will have the chance to weigh in on a proposal that would reinstate the city’s year-round grocery tax.

The Peninsula Clarion reported that the Soldotna City Council introduced an ordinance last week that would amend city code to restore the year-round tax on non-prepared food items.

Soldotna previously had to collect sales taxes in the same way that the Kenai Peninsula Borough did. But a 2008 borough ordinance allowed the city to levy its own taxes, meaning Soldotna didn’t have to participate in the nine-month grocery tax exemption.

A group of citizens challenged the ordinance and won the case in the Alaska Supreme Court in 2014. The state high court’s decision had allowed the group to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the borough ordinance.

Soldotna then had to reapply the exemption and only collect the tax during the summer months when the ordinance passed in the October 2015 municipal election.

Election results from the borough show Soldotna residents voted to keep the year-round grocery tax last year by a nearly 27 percent margin.

With the loss of the year-round grocery tax, Soldotna had been expected to lose $1.2 million in revenue. City Manager Mark Dixson said after a May budget work session that the city’s first-quarter payment came in $488,000 lower this year.

Dixson proposed increasing the city’s mill rate from 0.5 mills to 2.0 mills to help make up for the lost funds. But the City Council ultimately voted in June to keep the mill rate the same and use its reserves to fill the hole left by the loss of the year-round grocery tax.

The new ordinance that would bring back the tax is set to be discussed at a public hearing at a council meeting next week.

More in News

(Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File
Even the Grinch got into the holiday spirit at last year’s Gallery Walk on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
An abundance of traditional and new ways to capitalize on this year’s Gallery Walk

More than 50 events scheduled Friday afternoon and evening from downtown to Douglas.

This view is from Wrangell on Sept. 11, 2022. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus/ICT)
Conservation group supports formation of new Alaska Native corporations

The conservation group the Wilderness Society has changed its position and now… Continue reading

From her hospital bed on Friday, Nov. 24, Christina Florschutz demonstrates how she pulled pajama bottoms that she found in the landslide debris over her legs, arms and head to keep warm. Her house was destroyed in the landslide, and after spending the night in the wreckage, she was rescued the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 21. (Caroleine James / Wrangell Sentinel)
Elementary school aide who survived Wrangell landslide calls circumstances a miracle

Christina Florschutz trapped overnight by landslide that killed at least 4 people, with 2 missing.

Lylah Habeger (left) and Jaila Ramirez lead the Konfeta Corps during a rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at Juneau Dance Theatre. The ballet will be performed in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.At.Kalé auditorium Friday through Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Dance Theatre)
‘Nutcracker’ tradition, with a twirl of new choreography

This year’s performances feature a cast of 93, ages 5 to 78

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rain at the National Weather Service Juneau station on Nov. 11 doesn’t exist as snow until hits the upper portion of nearby Thunder Mountain. So far this November has been both warmer and wetter than normal. (Photo by National Weather Service Juneau)
El Niño playing outsize role in Juneau’s warmer temperatures, according to National Weather Service

Early peek at numbers shows Juneau is 4.9 degrees warmer than average this November.

An emergency rescue vehicle parks in front of the Riverview Senior Living center at midday Monday after resident Nathan Bishop, 58, was discovered in the attic about 40 hours after he was reported missing. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Nathan Bishop found alive in attic of Riverview Senior Living complex after 40-hour search

Family members say they remain supportive of facility’s locally available assisted living services.

Most Read