Service area power to be limited

Assembly introduces ordinances to limit, rescind authority of boards

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2007

Over the objections of the two assemblywomen from Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday voted to introduce an ordinance that would limit the authority of the south peninsula hospital service area and an ordinance amending procedures for rescinding authority delegated to service area boards.

Public hearings on Ordinance 2007-28 and 2007-29 were set for Aug. 7.

If approved, Ordinance 2007-28 would amend the powers of the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area board to advising and making recommendations to the borough mayor and the assembly "concerning the operations and management of service area activities, review and recommend the annual service area budget and perform such additional functions as the assembly may authorize."

The other ordinance would remove a 90-day notice requirement prior to the assembly rescinding authority delegated to service area boards.

"I am not comfortable with introducing this at this time," said assemblywoman Milli Martin of the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area ordinance.

"There's been a little friction between South Peninsula Hospital and the (borough) administration," she said. "We need to be going back and reviewing what the role of the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area is."

Citing a "critical need for training of our service area boards," assemblywoman Deb Germano also opposed introduction of the hospital service area ordinance.

Several of the remaining members of the assembly, however, said questions regarding the ordinance could only be addressed by putting the measure on the table.

Borough Mayor John Williams, who introduced the ordinance, said the administration would "take into consideration any concerns and comments of the service area board."

The ordinance was introduced on a 6-2 vote. Grace Merkes did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

Ordinance 2007-29 would allow the assembly to rescind authority delegated to service area boards without the need to provide a 90-day notice.

The ordinance was introduced on a similar vote with Martin and Germano opposing.

"To look at this as avoiding conflicts (between service area boards and the borough) by taking back authority is wrong," Germano said.

Martin said she did not argue that the measure was necessary, but said the language of the proposed ordinance did not need to be "this drastic."

At the conclusion of the assembly meeting, Germano announced her resignation from the assembly due to her work schedule, which requires frequent travel to Barrow.

She said she would vacate her seat Oct. 1, allowing the borough clerk enough time to advertise the vacancy prior to the fall general election when the remaining one year of her three-year term could be filled.

In other business, the assembly:

* Appropriated $50,000 for installing running water and sewer facilities and a functional lighting system in the Cooper Landing Emergency Services building;

* Appropriated $70,000 for installing playground equipment at a number of Kenai Peninsula schools;

* Awarded a $195,420 contract to CIC Inc. for relocating Kasilof River Road;

* Introduced and set a public hearing for Aug. 7, on Ordinance 2007-24 which would ask qualified voters if $3.5 million should be spent for Bear Creek Fire Service Area capital improvements. Bonds in the amount of $1.4 million would be issued only if $2.1 million is received in grant funding; and

* Introduced an ordinance appropriating bond proceeds of $14.7 million to the capital project fund for South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area improvement projects.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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