Dipnetting is the talk of the town these days, and Kenai’s City Council was no exception this week.
Courtney Stroh talked to the council Wednesday about her Caring for the Kenai project. She and a group of local youth have been canvassing the beaches, talking to dipnetters about respecting our community and helping clean up after them.
Stroh said the fish waste has been overwhelming since the fish — and dipnetters — spiked on July 16. But she’ll continue her efforts, and wants to be part of any discussions of how to better manage the fishery this winter.
“There must be a better way,” Stroh said.
In the first of many thank yous, every council member present praised Stroh’s work. Council members Mike Boyle, Brian Gabriel and Joe Moore were absent.
Mayor Pat Porter asked if she could send Stroh’s remarks to the governor, and asked Stroh for a list of students helping with her work, so that the city can thank each of them.
Councilmen Bob Molloy and Terry Bookey agreed with Stroh that it could be overwhelming, and thanked Stroh for helping solve the problem.
“Thank you for everything you’re doing,” Molloy said.
Councilman Ryan Marquis agreed.
“The city’s really proud of you,” he said.
Stroh wasn’t the only person the city thanked.
The council unanimously passed three resolutions thanking various organizations for supporting the library.
City Manager Rick Koch said Kenai’s residents, and library director Mary Jo Joiner, should also recieve credit for their influence on the Rasmuson Foundation, one such organization.
“This is the largest grant the Rasmuson Foundation has ever made to a library,” Koch said.
The others being honored were the BP Foundation and the Friends of the Kenai Community Library.
Marquis also credited the personal-use fishery that brings people to the central peninsula for being an economic engine.
“We’re really blessed to have our salmon renewable resource,” he said.
Council also discusses junk cars
Aside from extending gratitude, the council’s main item of business on the July 20 agenda was an ordinance redefining junk vehicles.
Currently, the city considers any vehicle without current registration to be a junk vehicle.
The ordinance focuses on other criteria, such as a substantial amount of broken tires or missing glass, missing two or more wheels or tires and other traits.
It was originally brought forward by Boyle at an earlier meeting, and had gone to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further discussion. The council voted 3-1, with Porter voting against the action, to postpone discussing the change until the full council could contribute.
A substitute ordinance put forward by city administration failed 3-1, with Porter voting in favor of it.
Marquis said he was willing to consider further changes than just those Boyle brought up, which the substitute ordinance did, but found some issues in the substitute’s language and scope.
“The burden of proof should be on the city,” he said, of a segment that would require homeowners to prove the vehicle ran.
“I also do not support the substitute,” he said.
The council also had two brief discussions — one to set a date to review applications for the position of city clerk, and one on the city’s efforts to make meetings more accessible.
The council will hold a work session to review clerk the applications at 6 p.m. Aug. 12.
The city’s last budget included money for web-streaming video from some meetings and archiving those videos, and they had an update on the timeline for that to start.
Councilman Terry Bookey said he is excited to provide people with the opportunity to see meetings from afar and get involved with local government.
Acting City Clerk Corene Hall said that before the city can start streaming council meetings and planning and zoning with the new carrier, they have to get their software and hardware upgraded to be compatible with the new provider’s standards.
That could happen in time for the second meeting in August, she said.
Koch cautioned the council from getting to hasty in their excitement.
“We’re moving forward with it but I don’t want you to be too disappointed at the second meeting in August if it’s not all zoom, zoom,” Koch said.