Kenai council looks at planning and zoning appointments, city audit

Kenai’s city council approved an ordinance Wednesday night that changes the recruitment and appointment process for Planning and Zoning commissioners.


Now, when the mayor is ready to nominate someone to fill a vacancy on that commission, the applications of all who are interested will be placed in the council’s meeting packet, so council members and the public can see who is interested in the position, and vet the chosen nominee. The council then has the responsibility of voting to confirm or veto the mayor’s appointment at its next meeting.

The ordinance also added some additional advertising requirements for planning and zoning vacancies.

Before approving the ordinance, the council heard public testimony regarding the issue.

“I’m in support of Substitute C with no amendments,” said Colleen Ward.

Substitute C passed, although it had one amendment, made by councilman Ryan Marquis. Marquis’ change required that the applications be placed in the council packet only when the nomination is made, not when the council considers it.

Councilman Brian Gabriel made an amendment to strike the requirement for applications to be included in either of those council packets. That effort was voted down.

The council also discussed the need for applications to expire so they aren’t brought forward indefinitely. That will come up later as part of a change to all commissions and committees nomination procedures.

The council also heard a report from John Bost, from the CPA firm Mikunda Cottrell, who did the city’s regularly scheduled audit this year.

Bost said he reviewed the city’s books, and the checks and balances in place to ensure that money is spent appropriately and with oversight from more than one person. 

“We didn’t find any problems or anything else,” Bost said during a presentation at the council’s Wednesday meeting.

Kenai was given a clean opinion, which is the best possible, Bost said. That means its financial statements are generally correct and the city is using generally accepted best accounting principles. The auditors found just two adjustments — an issue with a grant income and expenditure on the payable side of the budget, and additional ambulance receivables.

The city’s financial status is enviable, Bost said, in large part because of decent reserves.

But one city fund isn’t thriving the way others are, he noted. The water and sewer fund is not maintaining itself.

“You’re not generating enough there to match grants or to set anything aside,” Bost said.

The city commissioned a study on water and sewer rates earlier this year. At that time, administration and the council talked about raising rates over the next several years.

The council members thanked acting city clerk Cory Hall for filling in since Carol Freas retired in June. A new city clerk, Sandra Modigh, will be sworn in Monday morning.