Dumpster diving won’t be as rewarding for bears visiting Kenai this summer as it has been in the past, thanks in part to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game conservation program.
Wildlife technician Larry Lewis told members of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday that 400 bear-resistant garbage carts have been ordered and will be available in mid-April for residents within Kenai city limits.
Because the city adopted the Wildlife Conservation Community Program, Kenai residents will be able to obtain the bear-resistant carts for a one-time cost of $50, Lewis said. The full cost of the carts was underwritten through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service private landowners grant, he said.
Alaska Waste and Industrial Refuse, two private rubbish collection firms, will each have 200 carts available to their customers.
Lewis said bear-resistant carts will be available to people outside Kenai city limits, but at full retail price. Prior to any retail price markup, the carts cost $165 for the largest, 95-gallon size; $156 for the 68-gallon cart; and $136 for the 32-gallon size.
“We haven’t worked out what the prices would be to the customer,” he said, adding the carts are in limited supply.
In other business, the city council approved an ordinance making unpaid water and sewer bills liens against the property if it is sold, abandoned or foreclosed. In a memo to the council, City Attorney Cary Graves said the new ordinance is similar to ordinances in effect in Seward and Soldotna.
The council also awarded a $184,600 contract to Foster Construction Inc. to start work on the new soccer park. The contract calls for clearing trees from the proposed 25-acre site the city owns adjacent to the Kenai Spur Highway north of town. Some ground preparation also will be done. Initially four regulation-size soccer fields are to be built, along with a parking area.
The long-range master plan for the development includes softball playing fields and a BMX bike park. The recreation area eventually will have a building housing a snack bar, fixed toilets and possibly a pro shop in which players and fans can purchase sports gear.
Another resolution approved by the council awards a lease for two fish seasons to Copper River Seafoods for a seasonal base at the Kenai Dock station. Copper River bid $35,621 per year for the base, plus 3 cents per pound over 1,187,367 pounds and $500 per month for boat storage at boat storage area number 2.
At the request of Kenai residents Eric and Susan Wilcox, the council agreed to grandfather in a paving project for McCollum and Aliak drives at a 75-25 percent split. The project originated more than three years ago when property owners submitted a petition favoring the paving, but funds for the project did not come from the state Legislature as anticipated, according to a memo submitted to the council by the Wilcox couple.
Last year, residents were told funds were available, but because a number of property owners changed, a new petition would be required.
A resolution in February, suggested a 50-50 split between the city and the residents, but because of the various setbacks, constituents asked that the earlier split percentage be honored.
After some discussion, council member Michael Boyle moved to honor the earlier arrangement and the measure was approved unanimously.
Council members scheduled a work session for April 10 on the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year. A budget package is to be made available to council members by the city administration April 5. Public hearings on the proposed budget are tentatively set for June 7.
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