Kenai Council talks Meals on Wheels, Medicaid, capital projects

Kenai City Council during its Wednesday night meeting accepted a donated van for the Kenai Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program and opposed proposed regulations that will decrease privately owned assisted living facility Medicaid payment rates. In a work session before the meeting, City Manager Rick Koch also briefed the council on 22 possible capital projects.

 

The senior center’s new van will allow the Meals on Wheels program to reach more seniors, Kenai Senior Center Director Rachael Craig said. The program delivers annually 2,500 meals to home-bound Kasilof, Soldotna and Kenai seniors, according to the resolution. 

In the last 10 years, the number of seniors the program serves has almost doubled, Craig said. And the program is still growing, she said. Now with two vans, the program can reach more seniors more quickly, said Joseph Jolly, president of Kenai Senior Connection, Inc., the fundraising branch for the program.

“This will make a difference,” Jolly said.

The passage of resolution 2013-63 marks the council’s opposition of regulations that, if approved, will make it harder for privately owned and operated assisted living facilities to pay their bills. The Department of Health and Social Services regulations cut Medicaid payment rates. Cory Castagneto, co-owner and executive director of Riverside Assisted Living, said the regulations could prevent him from opening a center in Soldotna.

“Personally I think it is horrible when any government entity tries to compete with private enterprise,” Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said.

Prior to the council meeting, in a work session with Rep. Mike Chenault and representatives for Rep. Kurt Olson and Sen. Peter Micciche present, Koch outlined the city’s capital project priorities. 

The list is not yet finalized. The top eight priorities and requested funding are as follows:

- A city light and heavy equipment storage building at $2.5 million;

- City street improvements at $1 million;

- Phase two of waste water treatment plant upgrades;

- A new fire engine at $500,000;

- Recreation center improvements at $500,000;

- Phase two of industrial park construction at $500,000;

- Senior center vehicle storage facility at $400,000; and,

- New fee shacks and automated pay parking and camping systems for the Kenai River’s mouth at $225,000, according to the document Koch prepared for council.

More information in Friday’s Clarion.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

 

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