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Soldotna amends, adopts capital improvements plan

Body postpones sports center expansion plans

Posted: September 26, 2013 - 8:42pm  |  Updated: September 26, 2013 - 8:56pm

The Soldotna City Council met Wednesday night and discussed the Soldotna Sports Center and the capital improvement plan for funding requests and appropriated funding for purchases and projects.

Council unanimously approved both ordinances on the agenda.

The first ordinance increased funding for the airport apron expansion project. Funds are increasing by a total of $213,887. A Federal Aviation Administration grant will provide $200,519. A state grant and the city’s general fund will each provide $6,684 in additional funds.

City Engineer Kyle Kornelis said the appropriation falls under the 15 percent contingency overage. The funding is needed to cover construction costs for bury pit discoveries in the apron expansion area.

The ordinance appropriating $45,000 to purchase library books was passed. Ordinance 2012-027 states many of the books are the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library are out of date, and the Alaska State Library and Rachel Nash, city librarian, recommend replacing them.

The new library is nearly twice the size of the previously one, so there is space for more books, City Manager Mark Dixson said.

Jane Fuerstenau, library advisory board chair, said when the board went through the collection last spring it discovered many books were obsolete or damaged.

“The majority of the collection was not circulating because they were not of interest to the library users,” she said. Some books from the collection are not even worth moving into the new building, she said.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase a used dump truck for $35,000. The funds for this tuck were appropriated in the 2014 operating budget.

Dixson said the new truck would likely be used throughout the year to haul snow and gravel, and it would cost probably more than $100,000.

The Soldotna Sports Center has a new name as voted on by council. The body unanimously approved renaming the center the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Dixson said that changing it from a center to a complex encompasses not only the building, but also what is outside the building. He said the city’s name should remain in the title because Soldotna owns and operates the complex. However, “regional” is added because nonresidents use the facility and reflecting the extended service area in the name could help the city when seeking funding for the complex.

“Hopefully, it will help us to secure grant monies to help pay for the roof and to help pay for the expansion,” Dixson said.

Council unanimously postponed voting on expansion plans for the sports complex until the Oct. 9 meeting. In a capital projects work session prior to the council meeting, council discussed the possible new amenities to the complex and the funding of the project. It decided more time was needed to consider the plans. Council will meet Oct. 2 to continue discussion.

A resolution to re-enter into a contract with Wince-Corthell-Bryson in the amount of $141,246 to update and redesign the water reservoir project failed. The company previously designed the project in 1988, but the reservoir was not constructed, according to resolution 2013-068.

“Because this group, WCB, already has so much data and information in their own files that if we do put this out for bid, … it’s going to be much more expensive,” Dixson said.

This project is funded through a non-matching state grant. Dale Bagley was the only council member in favor of the contract. Regina Daniels had an excused absence from the meeting. Council members Pete Sprague and John Czarnezki said they would prefer to see companies bid on the project.

“The initial design for this project was in 1988, so we’re talking 25 years … between initial and the project we’ve got before us,” Sprague said. “Granted that there are a lot of similarities. … I think something of this magnitude should go out to bid.”

The council unanimously adopted the Fiscal Year 2015 Capital Improvement Plan for funding requests at the state and federal level. Czarnezki moved to make an amendment to the plan to switch the priority of two projects moving the seventh project, sidewalk and lighting developments on West Redoubt, to the fourth spot. Which moved general sidewalk repair and construction throughout the city to seventh on the list. The amendment passed unanimously.

Sprague moved to switch the first item, the sports complex expansion, and the second item, a new roof for the sports complex. He said because the 30-year-old roof has been on the capital improvement plan for three years and has had multiple repairs, it needs to be the first priority.

Council members Brenda Hartman, Nancy Eoff and Bagley voted against the amendment; it failed.

The final action item was a resolution ratifying the reapportion of a state grant for a traffic light at Birch Street. The city was approved for a fiscal year 2012 grant for the light, but that money was transferred to the water tank project. The money was appropriated based on the original grant, Kornelis said. Council unanimously approved the resolution. Kornelis said the light is scheduled to be constructed summer 2014.

Mayor Nels Anderson presented Hartman with a plaque to thank her for her service as council member and vice mayor. She is moving to Oregon. A new council member to be elected Oct. 1 will fill the single year left for her seat’s term. Eoff attended Wednesday’s meeting telephonically. She is not seeking re-election to her council seat and will also receive a plaque for her public service.

The next regular council meeting is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 9.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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