Kenai's City Council approved a fee increase for parking and camping near the beach during the state's personal-use fishery.
The resolution passed at the council's Wednesday night meeting also added camping, parking and docking fees to the city's comprehensive fee schedule.
The $5 increase would offset the cost of installing and maintaining fish cleaning stations on the beach, said City Manager Rick Koch.
The new 12-hour parking and overnight camping fees are $20 per vehicle during the personal-use fishery.
Both councilman Joe Moore and councilman Ryan Marquis, who participated via teleconference, said they didn't want to see Kenai residents pay more to use the city's property.
Councilman Brian Gabriel and Mayor Pat Porter suggested that the city look for ways to allow residents to pay a reduced fee.
Councilman Mike Boyle said he was working on an ordinance that would do that.
Ultimately, the resolution passed, with councilmen Molloy, Marquis and Boyle voting against the increase. Porter, Gabriel, Moore and councilman Terry Bookey voted for the increase, as did student representative Hannah Coffman.
Koch said the goal is to manage the wastestream so that it doesn't lay on the beach, he said.
That effort would include posting the beach to notify people that fish waste disposal was required and upkeep at the stations including waste disposal by the city. The state has fish cleaning stations that are no longer in use at the Russian River that would most likely be used in Kenai, Koch said.
The state of Alaska also announced Wednesday that the city was awarded a grant for fishery-related projects. The grant will fund continued sampling this summer to determine the source of higher-than-allowable bacteria levels, and signs and brochures about cleaning up fish waste. At the meeting, Koch said the third portion of the grant -- which would have funded the cleaning stations -- was denied.
Moore said it was an oxymoron for the state to fund sampling, but not a solution to the bacteria problem.
The council also introduced an ordinance related to a different fishery project. The ordinance would allow the city to accept a grant from the federal government to install a replacement bridge on the Meeks Trail. The bridge was donated by the Youth Restoration Corps. That ordinance will be up for public hearing at the council's May 18 meeting.
Molly Dischner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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