August 2017 UPDATE - PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Prepared by Meagan Picard, The Athena Group
The City is continuing to study whether or not annexing one or more areas outside current city boundaries is a viable option for the greater community. Your participation is needed!
Building from the fiscal study that was completed last year, the City has hired The Athena Group to design and facilitate a process that will allow everyone to be heard and to hear each other. As shown in this flyer (Public Engagement Flyer), the process will include:
- An online discussion forum dedicated to this issue for two months. Everyone is encouraged to visit this site as much as possible to stay current on the progress of the conversation and share thoughts on the increasingly specific questions that will be posed there.
- Four "community conversations" meetings, dedicated to community views on annexation and what matters most to everyone involved. Current city residents, business and landowners as well as folks in surrounding areas are encouraged to participate in these meetings.
- Three "open houses" plus a kick-off presentation designed to ensure that everyone has reliable information about how annexation would impact the areas being studied as well as current city and borough residents beyond the study areas.
The Athena Group is working hard to ensure these will be productive conversations in an open and trustworthy environment. We understand:
- This is a heated and emotional issue for some, and trust between people on opposite sides of the issue is low. The Athena Group honors these feelings and perspectives and will make room for all to be heard - and try to help everyone trust in the process at a minimum, and hopefully, eventually in each other.
- Different groups of people are working with different information. The Athena Group will be posting a set of informational materials on this website, and will make them available in the community conversations and open houses. New materials will be posted as the project progresses, so be sure to check back over time. Please contact Meagan Picard at email@example.com if you don't yet see the information that you need.
- The City needs to have this conversation and to hear from everyone. Annexation remains the most direct and practical solution to some key challenges the City is facing, but staff and officials know there is significant concern about its impacts. They are asking the greater community to have this conversation in more depth than in the past, so they can understand what's behind the opposition, determine if others they haven't heard much from yet (like current city residents) agree, identify ways annexation could work to reduce or eliminate negative impacts from the community's perspective, and provide the City Council with thoughtful and detailed community input to inform their decision on whether or not to proceed with some kind of proposal to the State of Alaska's Local Boundary Commission.
Please get involved! Make your voice heard - the City and The Athena Group look forward to your involvement on this important community issue!
November 4, 2016 Update -- Public Hearing on Public Engagement Process Scheduled for December 14, 2016
A public hearing before the City Council will be held on Ordinance 2016-032, which would appropriate funds to initiate a public engagement process to continue to explore the need and feasibility of annexing adjacent areas into the City of Soldotna. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers beginning at 6 PM on December 14, 2016. The public is welcome to attend and provide comment on the Ordinance. (For more information, see the City's Meeting Calendar, which will be updated with information pertaining to the Council meeting as information becomes available.)
June 13, 2016 Update -- Fiscal Effects Study Released
“The Analysis of the Fiscal Effects of Annexation for the City of Soldotna” was received on June 9 and released for review today.
The purpose of this report is to analyze the cost of delivering city services to areas near the existing city limits, and the overall fiscal effects on the City of Soldotna should the City decide to petition for the annexation of areas adjacent to the current city boundaries. It does not contain recommendations on annexation areas, but is one step of many in evaluating the feasibility and impacts of any potential annexation. Click here to download the full report (PDF; 10 mb).
A representative from Northern Economics, the firm who conducted the analysis on behalf of the City, will present the findings to the Soldotna City Council at a work session on Wednesday, June 22 at 4:45 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
City staff will also be holding an open house on Thursday, June 30th from 4:00 - 7:00 pm at the Gilman River Center, located at 514 Funny River Road in Soldotna. The public is invited to attend the open house to ask questions, discuss the report, and share feedback about the findings.
October 26, 2015 Update -- Study Areas Identified
The City has identified areas to be evaluated as part of the economic analysis, which are shown on this map (PDF). Please email us if you would like a hard copy, or would like to receive the map in a different format. The following editorial by City Manager, Mark Dixson, ran in the Peninsula Clarion on Sunday, October 25th. It describes where we are in the process, and why these particular areas were selected to be analyzed.
The entire study area is approximately 5 square miles, and is broken up into many smaller subareas (nine of them, in total). The results of the analysis will be reported for each, specific subarea. We know that the needs and concerns of people living in, or running their business in different areas may not be the same across the board. When the results of the economic analysis are available in 2016, we look forward to discussing them with folks from these different areas.
In the meantime, please contact us if you're interested in getting more information about the project, or in sharing your concerns and comments.
July 2015 Update -- City Authorizes Contract Award for Economic Analysis
The City Council approved Resolution 2015-036 at their July 22, 2015 regular meeting. This Resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with Northern Economics to perform the work described in the request for proposals (RFP) issued on June 8, 2015.
Specific meetings on annexation or those which include discussions on annexation will be featured on this page. You can also request to place your name on our email list here. You will be notified of upcoming meetings, hearings and other important events throughout the annexation review process.
Meetings of the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission are also noticed in the Peninsula Clarion, as well as the City's Master Meeting Calendar. Click on a meeting title to view the agenda and packet for each meeting.
If you have questions, please ask. We'll update these pages when we have new information.
The City is committed to a transparent, inclusive process regarding annexation. We are happy to meet with any individual or group who is interested in discussing the issue or sharing ideas/concerns. We hope this website will answer many of your questions and will provide resources for getting additional information. If something is missing, let us know!