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Assembly swears in new members, vetoes planning commission decision

Posted: October 9, 2013 - 8:07pm  |  Updated: October 9, 2013 - 8:08pm

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly welcomed new assembly members at its Tuesday meeting and bid farewell to two of its members, including the assembly president.

On Oct. 1 Peninsula voters elected Dale Bagley to the District 4 seat, Wayne Ogle to the District 3, and re-elected Brent Johnson to the District 7 seat. The three were sworn in as a group by Johni Blankenship, borough clerk.

Johnson returned to his seat for the remainder of the meeting. Bagley and Ogle will be seated at the next assembly meeting.

Assembly Vice President Hal Smalley presented Ray Tauriainen, District 3 member, and Linda Murphy, assembly president and District 4 member, with plaques for their service to the borough.

“It’s a little unusual to get this when you’ve been un-elected,” Murphy said.

The assembly considered a petition to vacate a portion of Mark Avenue in Anchor Point. At a Sept. 23 meeting the planning commission granted approval of the proposed vacation that intends to “resolve encroachments into building setback and right-of-way,” according to a memorandum.

The assembly heard from Jason Johnson, owner of two of the 10 properties served on Mark Avenue who did not approve of the vacation.

He said the plan to abandon a part of Mark Avenue and build a road with three 90-degree turns would be a “maintenance nightmare.”

“This would be real simply solved by moving the road 30 feet to the south on the petitioner’s property,” Jason Johnson said “It would get them out of encumbrance and still be a straight shot there would be no additional cost to building the road, and it would be easy to maintain.”

After hearing Jason Johnson’s testimony, the assembly decided to discuss the issue as an item separate from the consent agenda.

Max Best, planning director, said the commission previously discussed Jason Johnson’s suggestion, but said to do that the borough would have to get right-of-way dedication on two other lots.

The assembly unanimously vetoed the commission’s decision. Best said the petitioners for the reconfiguration can apply again in a year, but if they came back sooner with a redesign the commission would consider the application.

The assembly approved seven consent agenda items:

— Certifying election results;

— Extending the Sea Otter Community Center management agreement;

— Increasing administrative salary schedules by 2.5 percent overall to align the salary range with industry standards; salaries will range from $57,035 to $124,549;

— Accepting a $142,500 grant from the State of Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for emergency management operations;

— Allowing the borough to borrow up to $22,987,000 in general obligation bonds to pay for educational capital improvement projects as passed by voters in the Oct. 1 election;

— Appropriating $1.9 million for the first phase of the Homer Landfill closure;

— Authorizing the assessor to accept a late-filed senior exemption application.

An ordinance to approve to transition eight State of Alaska Department of Public Safety Dispatchers to borough employment and appropriate $460,881 to fund the change was postponed by the assembly to the Oct. 22 meeting. Assembly member Charlie Pierce reported there is some work still to be done on the agreement.

The next regular assembly meeting is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 22 in Soldotna.

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

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