CPGH moves closer to expansion

Posted: Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The final step toward launching the project to expand Central Peninsula General Hospital will happen today when the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly holds its final public hearing on an ordinance to fund the $49.9 million construction job, after which it is expected to vote to approve expenditure of general obligation bond proceeds already in the bank.

The effort to promote expansion and modernization of the aging facility has been ongoing for years, but the latest push began in earnest last year.

Hospital service area voters approved the expenditure of the $49.9 million and issuance of the bonds at the Oct. 7 municipal election. A resolution adopted in November authorized the bond sale, which occurred in mid-December.

Ordinance 2003-19-33 would free the money for project expenditures. Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Gilbreath said it is a necessary project that has been a long time coming.

"This is the culmination of many years of work, not only by the board, but also by the borough and community at large to expand the hospital to meet the needs of a growing and aging population," Gilbreath said.

Some work already has begun. In December, the assembly approved an ordinance to provide $1.5 million to Soderstrom Architecture and Planning Inc., of Portland, Ore., in order to jump-start design work so as not to lose the coming construction season. Soderstrom has partnered with an Anchorage architectural firm, ECI/Hyer Inc.

Gilbreath said they expect to break ground in June.

The assembly also is expected to hold a public hearing on Ordinance 2003-19-31, which would appropriate $596,837 from the Alaska Division of Emergency services to reimburse the borough for costs incurred in responding to flooding occurring from Oct. 2, 2002, to Nov. 12, 2002.

The money is 75 percent from the Federal Emergency Management Administration funds with a 25 percent match from the state.

According to David Gibbs, the borough's emergency management coordinator, the borough identified $1,181,676.97 in total costs incurred responding and recovering from the flooding. Ordinance 2003-19-04 previously appropriated $584,840.44. The latest ordinance appropriates the balance of the cost incurred by the borough in responding to the flooding totaling, $596,836.53.

In other business, the assembly is expected to:

Approve Ordinance 2003-19-36, appropriating $55,000 to cover the cost of the March 30 special by-mail election regarding future funding for cocurricular school activities. The assembly also is expected to approve the final draft of the proposition summary to be sent to voters prior to the election.

Consider Resolution 2003-094, supporting the committee substitute for House Bill 240 and Senate Bill 186, which relate to charitable gaming by electronic gaming machines. According to information provided in the resolution by its sponsor, assembly member Gary Superman of Nikiski, the legislation would provide a new revenue stream to the state, licensees and charities of $50 million to $80 million each. The borough might see $2 million to $3 million.



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