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Council discusses teen center, attorney

Posted: July 12, 2012 - 8:27am

Questions about the city attorney's job description, and management of the city's teen center by the Boys & Girls Club dominated the discussion at the Kenai City Council meeting Tuesday.

After discussion about access to the teen center, the council approved a three-year $390,000 agreement between the city and the Boys and Girls Club for management of the Kenai Recreational Center Facility.

The Boys and Girls Club has been managing the recreational center since 2003 according to the city.

"I see three major issues," said council member Robert Molloy. "First there is the management fee. Is this management fee of $130,000 fair for the management services; are we paying less than what's fair or are we paying more than what's fair?"

Molloy said his other two issues were the teen center membership fee, which should be paid for by an annual grant of $10,000 from the city, and how the rec center fits into the city's long term goals.

Molloy said he was concerned that a $75 fee for being a member of the Boys and Girls club in order to use the facilities would prohibit some from using the public facility.

The council directed City Manager Rick Koch to look into the management of the facility and report back to the council on several items including the number of youth who used the teen center.

Natasha Ala, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, said the council's concern about teens being unable to use the facility was not necessary.

"We scholarship all teens that go to the teen center with the grant from the city," Ala said.

The club has a policy which requires that they not turn anyone away from the teen center because of an inability to pay, she said.

For more than an hour, members discussed an action item which would have approved the city attorney's four-page position description for hiring a replacement for Krista Stearns who is leaving in October.

Council Member Tim Navarre suggested several changes in an attempt to streamline the language of the document and a few of those changes led to discussion on the attorney's responsibilities.

"You've got to remember this is a job description," he said. "... My language wasn't trying to minimize the attorney's responsibility."

Ultimately the council decided to put off approval of the job description.

"(Stearns) is very open to having us come back with this, give some direction this evening and maybe how we'd like to see it go and she could come back with a cleaner copy," said Mayor Pat Porter.

Stearns said waiting to approve the job description wouldn't slow down recruitment as the city was already advertising for the position.

A contract of $331,836 was awarded to Peninsula Construction for improvements to the Kenai Municipal Park.

"If this was approved tonight what would be accomplished this year and what would be accomplished next year?" asked council member Ryan Marquis.

Koch said he believed everything would be completed except the landscaping.

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