Group seeks aid for safety training

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In an effort to coordinate safety training and workforce development programs better, the city of Kenai will consider joining a number of organizations in support of a $300,000 state appropriation.

If the city and five other organizations sign on, the group intends to ask the Legislature for the funding to strengthen the existing network of safety and survival training programs in the Kenai area.

Other potential partners include the Pacific Rim Institute of Safety Management (PRISM), Beacon Occupational Health and Safety Services, Kenai Landing Inc., the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska and the Mining and Petroleum Training Service (MAPTS) of Kenai Peninsula College.

The state funding would enable the group to create a central Web site listing all training that is available, according to Kenai City Manager Rick Koch, listing schedules, course descriptions, costs, instructors' names, training facilities and lodging alternatives.

Koch said he is somewhat concerned that the Legislature, in approving such an appropriation, might displace other funding intended for other Kenai needs.

A memorandum of understanding between the organizations is to be considered at Wednesday's Kenai City Council meeting.

Also on the council agenda is an ordinance amending the city code to allow city employees to borrow up to six-months of annual leave for education and training after their earned annual leave has been used.

Koch said there has been an internal provision for workers borrowing forward on their leave entitlements for other reasons, but not for training, and the code amendment would formalize the practice.

The council will be considering the adoption of new international building, plumbing and mechanical codes.

Koch said it is customary for the city to adopt new codes as they become available in order to permit architects to design to the latest codes uniformly from city to city rather than work to new codes in one place and work to outdated codes elsewhere. Adoption of the new codes is considered routine, he said.

The city manager also plans to discuss plans for the proposed Wal-Mart and Lowe's stores coming to Kenai.

Koch said the plans, which have been submitted for city administration review, are available at city hall.

Somewhat disappointing, he said, is the fact the new Wal-Mart does not include an automotive service center.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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