Assembly reconsiders ordinances

Posted: Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Two major pieces of legislation failing to muster enough affirmative votes back on Dec. 4 are likely to survive reconsideration votes and come back to the floor at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly's first meeting of the new year Jan. 8.

Ordinance 2007-33 (substitute) sponsored by Borough Mayor John Williams and Assemblywoman Milli Martin of Diamond Ridge would enact stricter provisions for subdivision developers, requiring them to build roads to borough standards prior to final plat approval.

The controversial measure secured the backing of four of the seven assembly members present at the Dec. 4 meeting. However, any legislation needs five "yes" votes to succeed, that is, a majority of the nine members. Two members were absent that day.

Ordinance 2007-39 sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Fischer of Kasilof and the mayor would simplify eligibility rules for the senior property tax exemption, and drop a requirement that seniors be able to show they were not absent from the borough for more than 120 days a year in order to be eligible for the tax exemption.

They would be required to show no absence longer than 183 days the same as for an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Check. The ordinance includes a long list of exceptions to that rule, such as lengthy absences for medical reasons.

That measure also saw support from a 4-3 majority, but failed to pass for lack of a fifth "yes" vote.

Martin and Fischer, respectively, filed for reconsideration, putting the two ordinances back before the body. A majority of members present at the Jan. 8 meeting must first vote to bring the measures back to the floor before acting on their specifics.

Early in December there was some indication that a member or two might not be present at the Jan. 8 meeting, calling into question whether the two measures could garner sufficient votes to pass.

However, as of Dec. 31, the borough clerk's office had received no official notice from any assembly member that they would not be at the meeting.

The Jan. 8 agenda also includes introduction of several proposed ordinances.

* Ordinance 2007-19-35 would accept and appropriate a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant of $59,050 for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area for firefighting equipment. It would get a public hearing on Jan. 22.

* Ordinance 2007-19-36 would appropriate $100,000 needed to make changes to the borough's sales tax software necessary because the city of Seward recently increased its tax cap to $1,000. A hearing would be set for Jan. 22.

* Ordinance 2008-01 would provide for impounding and disposing of vicious dogs in areas of the borough outside city limits. A hearing would be set for Feb. 5.

* Ordinance 2008-02 would require that roads constructed prior to final plat approval meet borough maintenance standards. This measure was proposed by Assemblyman Gary Knopp of Kalifornsky as an alternative approach to Ordinance 2007-33 (substitute). A hearing would be set for Feb. 5.

Hal Spence can be reached at

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