Kenai's council sets clerk salary, approves rezone

Almost a month after selecting a new city clerk, Kenai’s city council finalized her starting salary in a lengthy executive session Wednesday night.

 

According to the council’s action Wednesday, when former Bethel city clerk Sandra Modigh starts working for Kenai in December, she will be making $70,000 per year. The contract includes a provision for Modigh’s salary to be raised after her six-month performance review. Modigh was selected during an Oct. 7 special meeting.

The council also took action on a number of other items at its regular meeting Wednesday, including accepting grants, rezoning a piece of land and discussing the process for appointing planning and zoning commissioners.
The council heard a motion from councilman Bob Molloy to postpone the rezone of land near Bridge Access Road owned by City Manager Rick Koch, but instead approved rezoning the property from Rural Residential to Heavy Industrial in a 5-2 vote.

Molloy and Councilman Mike Boyle voted against the rezone.

Molloy said he didn’t see that anything had been done improperly in the past, but wanted to have an acting city manager, under advisement from an independent city planner and attorney, vet the application before the council passed it.

“For me this isn’t personal, it’s business,” Molloy said. “... I think this is really just the cost of doing business,” he said.

He also said the council could consider other options, like a conditional use permit or split zone, with additional time to look at the matter.

Former Planning and Zoning commissioner and current Councilman Tim Navarre said the commission had considered those options, but determined that the rezone was best. That body approved the rezone in October and passed it along to the council for discussion.

“We have to trust people and I believe this was done in a very professional manner,” Navarre said.

Councilmen Ryan Marquis, Brian Gabriel and Terry Bookey both said they agreed with Navarre that there weren’t red flags that would require additional oversight in how the rezone application was handled.

Koch applied for the rezone in order to build a shop on his property. The property is adjacent to other industrial areas, and also has residential neighbors.

The council also considered an ordinance that would change the process for finding new members for the planning and zoning commission.

The ordinance, which was brought forward by councilmen Molloy and Bookey, adjusted the application process for potential commissioners.

After public testimony, comments from city council members and a long procedural discussion, the council ultimately voted to postpone their decision.

The council will hold a work session on the ordinance Nov. 28, and then it will return to the Dec. 6 council meeting for a public hearing and vote on Molloy and Bookey’s ordinance.

The council also added nearly $3 million to the city’s coffers with little discussion.

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@peninsulaclarion.com.

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