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Thank for support of free boat launch use for seniors

Posted: August 23, 2012 - 8:43am

Yes, you read it right, free. Earlier this spring the Kenai City Council approved a resolution granting free boat launch benefits to senior citizens age 60 years and older. This benefit is available for the entire boating season except during the personal use dip-net fishery July 10 — July 31. 

In recent years the City was forced to increase its boat launch fees to $20 to help cover some of the costs associated with accommodating the large influx of boat use during the dip-net fishery. This increase affected the ability of some of our local seniors, on a fixed income, to participate in the lower river early king and late coho fisheries as they had been accustomed to doing in the past. With the increased costs of gasoline, outboard oil and boat launch fees their ability to participate in local fisheries is one of the areas some have had to cut back on.  

At the urging of some of our senior members, Kenai Area Fisherman’s Coalition (KAFC), a local private angler group, met with City Manager, Rick Koch, to discuss options to reduce these costs for seniors. He was very appreciative of our concerns and began working on the issue. Soon Mr. Koch, along with assistance from councilmen Bob Molloy and Brian Gabriel, formulated a resolution to grant the free boat launch benefit for all seniors age 60 and older. First, the Harbor Commission voted unanimously in support and then Mayor Porter and the entire City Council voted to support it as well. Their discussion comments were focused on their interest in trying to do more for local seniors who have helped build this community.   

Obviously, this benefit came at some expense to the City, therefore, we should all appreciate and offer our thanks to all of these City officials for their commitment to making life easier for our local seniors. Remember, seniors take kids and grandkids on the water too so the benefit is well appreciated by entire families.

Some may be wondering why these benefits are for all seniors and not just local seniors. It is because the City’s legal department concluded that since the City received some Federal funding for boat launch area construction and maintenance that it would be prudent to avoid any conflict to offer it to all seniors without caveat. It was also felt that mostly local seniors would be around during these fringe times to participate anyway.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank one of our members, Bob Stockdale, for working on this issue with Mayor Porter and several of the council members as well.

Hope your fall fishing is successful.

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TheKenaiKid 08/25/12 - 01:56 pm
Self-serving council at it again

The council voted unanimously to give seniors a freebie? Shocking. You know, college students are often on fixed incomes and could use some help. Why no free boat launch for 20-year-olds? Oh, right. College kids don't vote.

Did the council take the time to think about the financial implications of this? Now, all I need to do to get a free launch is bring my dad along. A boat full of 20- and 30-somethings can launch for free if they just bring grandpa along for the ride. Smart move, council. This resolution could more accurately been called the "Take and Old Guy Fishing" initiative.

Sure, some seniors are hard up for cash. But not usually the ones who own boats. In fact, what Mr. Kramer fails to point out is that many seniors are among our wealthiest residents.

This is a giveaway, pure and simple, to a special interest group in order for council members to grab votes for the next election. I'll bet some of them are already using this issue in their campaigns as we speak...

radiokenai 08/31/12 - 07:04 am
The Kenai Kid

You are correct, this is only a showboat for the Kenai Council to show they care...when they really don't.

If they "Cared" then residents of the Kenai Peninsula would not have to pay a launch fee since their taxes already go for its upkeep anyhow.

It is about votes and looking good....

Allen 09/04/12 - 11:14 am

Pretty snide comment as well as mistaken. No 20 year is on a fixed income like elderly residents are. I'm glad seniors can get a break from this fee which no resident should have to pay anyway, and I doubt it's going to break the bank. If the City is in such dire straits they could quit spending money on expensive playgrounds like the one going up on Forest. That's a want not a need.

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