Some Kenai businesses may see paper work cut

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2002

Some Kenai businesses could get a break on their paper work.

The Kenai City Council will revisit an ordinance requiring annual reports from business owners who hold conditional use permits to operate in residential areas.

Council member James Bookey, owner of J.C. Bookey Excavating and Coffee Time Express and a conditional use permit holder, said the requirements of the the yearly report take too long to complete and could potentially hurt the people who hold the permits.

"I felt it was cumbersome," he said. "To do this paper right and go get (information from) the borough, you're looking at four or five hours. I want to be sure that we're not putting an extra burden on anybody. Most of these conditional use permits are being held by small businesses."

The council passed the ordinance last June requiring the permit holders to submit yearly reports between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

The reports provide verification that the permit holder is current with any obligations, including sales tax, property tax, assessments, utility payments and lease payments, owed the city or the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The report also requests a copy of a business license and a summary of on-site activity for the previous year.

Mayor John Williams said one of the major purposes for the yearly reporting is to keep an accurate account of how many permits are being used.

Nevertheless, the process could be abbreviated, said Bookey.

"We were trying to come up with a process to know whether the conditional use permits were being used," Bookey said. "I would like to see us reevaluate this down to a system where it's simple for someone to throw it out in five minutes."

Bookey expressed other concerns with the need for the annual reporting process.

"The sales tax, property compliance certificate the city wants us to fill out really has no bearing on conditional use," he said. "We don't even have the right to really do anything with the sales tax or the property tax as far as litigation. That function belongs to the borough."

Bed and breakfast owner Barry Eldridge said he was taken aback when he received the letter detailing the new requirements for the permit. In spite of the ordinance's good intentions, it could stand to be relaxed, he said.

"When I first got this, I thought, 'this is a little bit superfluous,'" Eldridge said. "It's a good idea. It tells you are still using the permit. I would suggest maybe every three years."

Council member Pat Porter said there should be an initial report to gather most information and a second annual one to update a permit holder's status.

"I think there should have been two reports," she said. "I'm asking the administration to reconsider what we put in here for at least a yearly report."

City Manager Linda Snow agreed with Porter and suggested that city administration take on the burden of collecting sales tax and property tax data from the borough. She said it was possible to make that one adjustment to the ordinance without having to amend it.

The administration will review the ordinance and return to the council with a simplified process.

In other news from Wednesday's meeting:

Ed Flanagan, commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, approved the city's wastewater treatment plant for the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) for the third straight year. The award acknowledges the plant's maintenance of high health and safety standards.

The council awarded the bid for self-contained breathing apparatus for fire fighting to Eagle Enterprises Inc. of Anchorage for $70,299.04. The funds for the the equipment came from a grant from Fire and Emergency Management Act (FEMA).

The city manager was authorized to enter into an agreement with Dorothy A. Fisher for a travel agency concession at the Kenai Municipal Airport for $469 per month from March 1 to Feb. 28, 2007.

The council approved liquor license renewals for George's Casino Bar, Upper Deck, Mr. D's and Alaskalanes bowling alley.

The next Kenai City Council meeting will be Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

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