Soldotna city employees soon will have another option in their benefits package.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Soldotna City Council passed a resolution setting up a deferred benefits plan through Lincoln National Financial Group. The group will manage employees' retirement contributions.
City Manager Tom Boedeker said the change from Nationwide Financial, the previous carrier, came about because the company eliminated its representative in Alaska. Lincoln National, in contrast has a personal contact in Alaska in addition to nationwide telephone representatives.
In another resolution, the council approved an agreement with the state Department of Transporta-tion and Public Facilities for the building and maintenance of a sidewalk between West Redoubt Avenue and Marydale Drive in front of the Soldotna junior and senior high schools.
The agreement states the DOT will build the sidewalks and the city will maintain them "in good working order."
In other council news:
n Members of the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association girls squirt-level team presented the council with a trophy the team won at the Mustang Roundup tournament in Eagle River two weeks ago.
On the way to the tournament crown, the team -- several members of which had never played hockey before -- bested two boys' teams and one girls' team from around Alaska.
n Two ordinances increasing funding for projects were entered into the record and public hearings were set for the next council meeting, on May 10.
The ordinances will allot a little less than $90,000 to the completion of the city hall basement and would add more than $490,000 to the East Marydale Avenue and Karen Street improvement project.
n In his report to the council, Boedeker announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin work on improvements to Swiftwater Park this summer.
"I think it unlikely that all of the work will get done this year," Boedeker said.
The work to be done includes a walkway with four platforms -- three multi-purpose and one for handicapped-accessible fishing.
"We anticipate a lot more traffic because of this," the city manager added.
n Mayor Ken Lancaster officially thanked Morgan Burdick and Ed Mallette for volunteering to clear the soccer fields at Skyview and Soldotna High Schools of snow so that play could begin.
n Joel Wilkins, the city financial director, said the fiscal year 2001 budget will be introduced to the council at the next meeting.
n Soldotna Police Chief Shirley Warner said the department will be interviewing four applicants for the three openings on the force.
n Andrew Carmichael reported that the boat launch at Centennial Park has been dredged out and will be ready to open Monday.
n Boedeker introduced a letter from Mike Sweeney, proprietor of Sweeney's Clothing, asking for a change to the city aerial sign code to allow him to use a balloon sign to advertise his business.
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