Council greets 4 new members

Murphy, Whitney appointed to seats

Four new council members were seated at Wednesday night’s Soldotna City Council meeting.

The council swore in its two newly elected members, Keith Baxter and Meggean Bos, and one re-elected member, Regina Daniels, who was also sworn in as vice mayor. Two members, Linda Murphy and Paul Whitney, were appointed and also took their oaths of office.

Four applicants, Murphy, Whitney, Tom Janz and Dave Carey, were interviewed for Seats A and C.

Murphy and Whitney both discussed their backgrounds in government during their interviews. During the October election, Murphy ran for re-election to the Soldotna seat as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. She was also serving as assembly president. Dale Bagley ran against her and won. Murphy has also previously worked as borough clerk.

“I see this as an opportunity to continue to serve the community,” she said.

Whitney served as a member of Fairbanks City Council in the 1980s. He currently serves on the Soldotna Planning and Zoning Commission and the borough Planning Commission. He ran in this year’s regular municipal election for Seat E against Baxter.

“I have the time, desire and devotion to put into the (council) job,” Whitney said, telephonically.

After listening to the applicants’ statements and asking them questions, the council voted Murphy to Seat C to succeed Bagley. She received four votes for council Seat C, and Carey received one vote.

Council member John Czarnezki served through council comments at the end of the meeting, after which Seat A was declared vacant and voting for his successor commenced. Czarnezki resigned from the council because he accepted a position with the Economic Development and Planning Department with the city.

The council voted on the three remaining applicants. Janz received two votes, Whitney also got two votes and Carey got one vote. Council voted a second time on the tied applicants. Whitney won the vote against Janz 3 to 2. He took his oath.

Between the seating of the two appointed members, the Soldotna Elks Lodge presented the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Public Library with a $10,000 donation.

Librarian Rachel Nash said the donation will help the library to provide better services, collections and programs for patrons.

The council moved through its work following the donation presentation, passing four ordinances and one resolution.

The council updated municipal code to reflect longevity pay practices; accepted a $2.5 million state grant for water reservoir reconstruction; approved funding to purchase a Vactor truck that can be used for sewer cleaning and vacuum excavating; amended code to give council the option to not require stub line fees until a property connects to the stub line and authorized the city to enter contract with Blazy Construction, Inc. to complete the boiler replacement project at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

An ordinance to amend municipal code to prohibit commercial non-local delivery traffic on collector and residential streets was postponed. The ordinance was drafted in response to residents who were unhappy with the amount of construction traffic on their streets. It was discovered that the ordinance would not include some streets it was intended to because those roads actually fell under the arterial streets category of more than 3,000 vehicles per day. The city intends to make changes to include those streets and bring the ordinance before council on Jan. 22, 2014. City Manager Mark Dixson said he does not think the postponement will affect residents as construction season is nearly complete.

The next regular council meeting is at 6 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Soldotna City Hall.

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

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