Assembly heads to Seward for meeting

Posted: Monday, May 05, 2003

Seward hosts the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting Tuesday and members are expected to approve a pair of ordinances accepting and appropriating grants meant to improve disaster response and make life safer for residents of the peninsula.

They also are expected to take testimony on an original resolution and a substitute that would establish borough policy with respect to controversial federal anti-terrorism laws and presidential executive orders. Final action on those resolutions, however, will not be taken until the May 20 meeting in Soldotna.

Once a year, the assembly holds a meeting in Seward. Typically, agendas for meetings held outside Soldotna are relatively basic. This agenda is no exception.

Much of it is relegated to a portion of the agenda known as the "consent agenda," which groups together numerous resolutions and new ordinances that are up for introduction, handling them in a single vote.

Three other ordinances are scheduled for public hearings and final action, however, and those will be treated as separate measures.

Ordinance 2002-19-36 accepts and appropriates a $14,000 grant from the Alaska Division of Homeland Security that will be used to develop community emergency response teams. It will provide training in disaster preparedness, fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations and light search and rescue operations.

Ordinance 2002-19-37 accepts and appropriates a state homeland security grant amounting to $27,937 to be used to update the borough's Disaster Emergency Operations Plan last updated in 1997. A revised version would be due by Dec. 1.

Another proposed ordinance, 2003-13, authorizes acquisition of Tract D of the Wes Warren Subdivision Ranch Addition for a fire station site within the Nikiski Fire Service Area in the Holt-Lamplight area.

Resolution 2003-043, introduced by assembly member Betty Glick of Kenai and a substitute offered by assembly member Grace Merkes of Sterling, would ask President George W. Bush and Congress to re-examine certain federal anti-terrorism laws and presidential executive orders to ensure they do not violate constitutionally protected civil rights.

In recent months, communities across the nation have considered, and in many cases passed, such legislation over concerns that federal anti-terrorism measures meant to help catch would-be terrorists also might preclude rights of citizens guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of various states.

In Alaska, the Fairbanks City Council and the Juneau Assembly have enacted similar resolutions. The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly narrowly rejected one. Five of nine members voted in support, but six votes were needed for passage.

Similar measures have been introduced in the Alaska House and Senate.

In other business scheduled for Tuesday's meeting, the assembly is expected to introduce:

n Ordinance 2002-19-39, appropriating $300,000 in Road Service Area funds to the Edging-ton Road Improvement Project;

n Ordinance 2002-19-40, accepting a $38,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a fuel model map of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge;

n Ordinance 2003-16, amending borough code regarding mandatory conditions for all right-of-way permits; and

n Ordinance 2003-19, appropriating funds for fiscal year 2004, which begins July 1. Public hearings are scheduled on the budget measure for May 20 and June 3.

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