Kenai council talks city improvements

Kenai’s city council approved work on local improvement projects at its Wednesday meeting.

 

The council unanimously agreed to fund landscape work at Leif Hansen Memorial Park, Waste Water Treatment Plant needs, and upgrades to the audio system in council chambers. 

The council’s resolution awarded a $18,498 to low-bidder B&B Landscaping to renovate the Leif Hansen Memorial Park’s flag pole flower bed. According to a memo from Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates, the improvements will include reshaping and designing the bed and new planting.

The contract for the project was about $11,000 less than the $30,000 budgeted. Mayor Pat Porter asked if the beautification committee would be given a chance to weigh-in on how to spend the remaining funds. City manager Rick Koch said he planned to look at using the money for work at the Blue Star Memorial, but would talk to the committee about that plan.

According to a summary of its October meeting, the committee voted to make that memorial its second priority on its Capital Improvement List. Beautification also reviewed the plans for Leif Hansen at that same meeting.

The council, which has had audio issues at several past meetings, agreed to spend $20,500 on upgrading audio equipment in the council chamber. That money will go toward equipment, as well as installation. According to a memo from Finance Director Terry Eubank, the goal is to address sound quality issues in the webstream of meetings and in telephonic participation.

Councilman Terry Bookey said he was glad to see the city ready to purchase the equipment and see the improvements come to fruition.

The wastewater treatment funding was largely a budget transfer. The treatment plant needed a new conveyor belt earlier in the year; Wednesday, the council provided funding for regular operations to make up for the $9,100 spent on the belt. 

Councilman Ryan Marquis asked Koch to find out how often such fund transfers are required, and whether needing council approval delays any work. Koch said he would find those numbers, and told the council that when the transfer is less than $5,000, it doesn’t necessarily come before council.

The council also agreed to sell a parcel of land to Ma & Pa Alaskan Treasures.

Koch brought forward changes to the purchase and sales agreement that specified two separate deeds of trust: one on the land, and the other on the improvements. Ma & Pa purchased the land with private financing, and asked for city financing to purchase the building. The separate deeds mean the city is in a better position to keep the building if there is a default on either loan.

Councilman Bob Molloy, who asked for postponement to get more information at the last meeting, said he supported the new version.

“This addresses the issues that I had at the last meeting,” he said.

The council heard public testimony on the merger between the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and the Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the issue regarding trees needing to be trimmed or chopped near the airport. A work session, open to the public, will be held on each issue. The merger will be discussed Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m., and the trees will be revisited Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

 

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

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