Kenai council has light night

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2005

If good things come to those who wait, the Kenai City Council is in for a great meeting Aug. 3.

With three of the seven-member council members absent for Wednesday's meeting, the council postponed action on a number of agenda items, choosing only to approve mostly routine matters that required little or no discussion.

"It's going to be a late meeting that night," mayor Pat Porter said.

Set aside for two weeks were items including an ordinance to remodel the Kenai Senior Citizens Center kitchen, a resolution approving a contract for the remodeling, a discussion of how to spend the $1,080,000 in state legislative grants coming to the city and a scheduling meeting for the council's upcoming strategic planning session.

The council was low on members because Joe Moore and Jim Butler were busy commercial fishing and Blaine Gilman was attending to the death of his father, former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Don Gilman, who died Monday.

Despite being short-staffed, the council did manage to squeeze in some city business.

After taking a break to meet in executive session, the council set a monthly stipend for Kenai Police Chief Chuck Kopp, who also is serving as the city's acting city manager. Kopp will be paid $1,815.41 per month until the city locates a new manager to replace Linda Snow, whose contract the council decided not to renew earlier this month.

The council also held a discussion on a proposed land trade with the Conservation Fund, which wants to give the city land to expand the city dock entrance road in exchange for city-owned wetlands.

After hearing from Public Works Director Keith Kornelis on the status of the land deal, the council decided to have a resolution authorizing the trade ready at its next meeting.

Kornelis told the council the city's harbor and planning and zoning commissions approved of the deal, which would trade 93.13 acres of city land along the Kenai River in exchange for a 6.42-acre parcel owned by the Conservation Fund. The city's land is appraised at $90,000, while the upland area is valued at $80,000. The Fund has agreed to pay the city $10,000 to make up the difference.

The Fund also wants to purchase a number of other parcels along the river, but the council decided not to get into the issue of further sales until August.

The final big order of city business discussed Wednesday was an update on the town clock project. Kornelis said the design for the 19-foot-tall stainless steel and copper clock is finished, and material is being ordered.

The town clock will be a tower, featuring a two-sided clock face with a fish pattern designed by Kenai Peninsula College Professor Celia Anderson. It's being paid for by an estimated $55,000 from private donors and $7,000 in city funds. The location has not been finalized, although it likely will be placed in Leif Hansen Memorial Park.

Kornelis said he has lined up a welder to work on the tower and planned to order the clock itself Thursday morning.

"I think it's going to work out really well," he told the council.

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