Kenai council takes action on several items

Senior center, camping and parking fees top discussion

Kenai’s City Council got down to business Wednesday night and passed more than half-a-dozen ordinances and resolutions.


Kenai’s seniors made a showing when Frank Arbelovsky presented the city with a donation on behalf of the Kenai Senior Connection.

In addition to accepting the more than $11,000 donation for the city’s Meals on Wheels program, which is run out of the senior center, the council unanimously passed an ordinance that increased revenues and appropriations in order for the senior center to buy a new delivery van for the program.

Most of the cost of the van is covered under a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, senior center director Rachael Craig said in a memo.

Arbelovsky suggested the city paint it with the All-America logo and use it to show-off the city’s success.

“I would like to see this van painted red, white and blue,” he said.

Before the vote to approve funding, Mayor Pat Porter agreed that decorating the van was a good idea.

The council also increased the cost of meals at the senior center.

To keep pace with the medicaid reimbursement rate, the cost of meals for non-seniors is $14.35. The cost for children 12-years-old and younger is $6, and the suggested donation for seniors is $6.

Just in time for the personal use fishery, Kenai’s city council lowered the cost of camping and parking at city beaches.

City Manager Rick Koch brought forward the resolution. The fee had been raised this year to support the cost of maintaining fish cleaning stations and disposing of the waste. The city has the stations but could not find someone to handle the waste, so they will not be used, Koch said.

Now the cost is $15 for 12 hours of parking and $15 for overnight camping, which is the same as the cost last year.

Councilmen Joe Moore and Brian Gabriel voted against the reduction.

“The problem doesn’t go away,” Moore said. “The health issue is still there.”

Others, including councilman Terry Bookey, said they didn’t want to charge for a service the city couldn’t provide.

“I’m in support of reducing it back to the $15,” Bookey said.

Koch said the city is still considering it’s options for fish waste, and will continue to work on a solution for next year.

The council also talked about what the city would be doing along the river this year.

Moore said Courtney Stroh, who had a Caring for the Kenai project dealing with the Kenai River, would be out talking to people about respecting and protecting the health of the river.

Koch said Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation has provided funding for the Kenai Watershed Forum to test for bacteria levels, and has provided signs if those levels are higher than the state considers healthy for people. Any action, like closing the beach, would come from the state level, Koch said.

“There will be signage and that’s the limit of what we will accomplish,” Koch said.

The council also dealt with various employee issues, including giving the city clerk, city manager and city attorney each a 1 percent cost of living raise. The city attorney also received a 3 percent contractual raise, and the city manager received a 2 percent performance raise.

The council agreed to have the deputy clerk work full-time in the clerk’s office, rather than half-time there and half-time in the finance department.

At the city manager’s request, the council met in executive session regarding his performance. They took no action after returning to the regular meeting.

Vice-mayor Mike Boyle participated in the meeting via teleconference.