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Council talks improvement and safety programs

Posted: April 26, 2012 - 5:33pm  |  Updated: April 26, 2012 - 5:35pm

The Soldotna City Council made quick work of their agenda Wednesday, passing three ordinances and introducing another.

The council passed an ordinance to add $10,000 in the general fund and $27,500 in the small capital improvements fund for the Storefront Improvement Program. The extra money will allow the program to assist six businesses, which is more than Soldotna City Planner Stephanie Queen expected.

“It’s the first year we’ve offered it and originally the $10,000 I requested, I planned on funding hopefully two projects,” Queen said.

The Storefront Improvement Program is reimbursement-based and will help businesses mainly along the Spur and Sterling Highways with various projects to beautify their areas. Queen said the selection committee received eight projects, but felt six were most worthy.

“So the additional $10,000 appropriation would allow us to fund all six,” Queen said.

The six businesses are River Terrace RV, Peninsula Center Mall, Homestead Jewelers, Soldotna “Y” Chevron, Mooring Business, LLC and the Mykel’s Restuarant building, including Soldotna Inn.

The level of assistance for the six businesses depends on how involved their project is.

“Some of them will be larger improvements constructed this summer,” Queen told the council Wednesday. “Others will be funded at the lower amount but it will give them an opportunity to utilize our design assistance we’re offering for their conceptual designs.”

Council member Brenda Hartman was on the selection committee and said she was impressed with the community’s interest.

“I think that if we can use the funds that we have ... (it) would be very advantageous for us to take advantage of the interest the companies are showing at this time for city improvements,” Hartman told the council.

The council also approved an ordinance to accept grant funds from the state for $68,300 for the Alaska Safe Routes for School Program. The funds will allow the planning committee define which projects will be incorporated, Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking told the council.

The program’s goal is to help reduce the risk to children traveling to and from school, either by foot or on bicycle and while playing in their neighborhood, according to the ordinance. The funds help sponsor Soldotna Safety Days and helps the city promote bike safety.

The third ordinance approved Wednesday accepted a grant from the Anchorage Police Department for $5,000 for the purpose of furthering investigations involving internet crimes against children. 

“A couple of years ago the APD passed us down some monies from the federal government underneath the internet crimes against children bill that gave us the opportunity to purchase a big analytical computer,” Lucking told the council.

The computer, Lucking said, is able to preserve the imagery from cell phones and computer hard drives in order to file police reports. The money from the grant will go towards maintaining the computer, such as software updates and hard drives, he said. 

 In other business:

  •  The council set a public hearing date for May 9 for an ordinance amending Soldotna Municipal Code to waive campground daily use admission fees for vehicles occupied by a disabled veteran.

 The next city council meeting is scheduled for May 9.

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