New Kenai City Manager Linda Snow attended her first city council meeting Wednesday night -- the same meeting that marked the end of council member Bill Frazer's tenure.
Snow, hired away from Petersburg in May, took office July 16.
Frazer, who was first appointed in 1998 and then elected to the council twice, 1999 for one year and 2000 for a three-year term, resigned late last month after taking a job in Arizona. His seat on the council will remain vacant until the October election.
Snow was appointed to sit on the boards of the Kenai River Special Management Area and the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, both seats held by former city manager Rick Ross.
During the meeting, the council heard a presentation from consultant Kevin Waring regarding the comprehensive plan he has been hired to conduct for the city.
"We're beginning to collect data now," Waring said. "The next step will be a key one, that's a public strategic planning workshop."
Kenai Mayor John Williams suggested the meeting be held after the new council is sworn in. The election is Oct. 2, and the new council will be seated Oct. 17.
Waring said public input would be important to the process, and he plans to mail a newsletter to residents three or four times through the process.
"I want the plan to agree with community goals, and the public accepts it and uses it as a guide for the decade to come," he said.
The comprehensive plan is designed to be the city's road map to growth for the next 10 years.
Williams, who has seen comprehensive plans come and go over his years in public office, said he wants this one to be more a look ahead than a look in the rearview mirror.
"In the past, we've had some grandiose thoughts and ideas, that in hindsight were unrealistic," he said, adding he wants the plan to address funding for projects it touts.
"A plan that is not fundable is an unrealistic plan."
In other council news:
n The city has been granted $500,000 from the federal government to have an engineering plan drawn up for the proposed Kenai sea wall and coastal trail. Williams said Sen. Ted Stevens was instrumental in obtaining the appropriation.
He said Stevens also plans on bringing Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman on a tour of the eroding bluff.
"Now we have to go to work on the (governmental) agencies about our needs that must be fulfilled, that is the coastal trail and our little problem there," Williams said referring to the erosion that has eaten away an average of three feet of bluff a year over the past 40 years.
n The council had to turn down a request to use the Kenai Recreation Center by the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula. The club wanted to use the center for its annual auction dinner, but since the center is alcohol- and drug-free, and the club plans on serving alcohol, several council members were uncomfortable with renting it out. The club could use its own gymnasium, but it is alcohol- and drug-free, as well.
n The council awarded a contract for $23,469 to American Ramp Co. to build equipment for the city's new skateboard park.
"This is a small amount of money, and it is making quite a few young people very happy," Frazer said. "Probably the Kenai Police Department, as well."
Williams thanked Frazer for spearheading the push for a skateboard park, saying many businesses in the city will be happy to have skateboarders off their property.
"I've had some who've offered to help pay for this park, just to get them out of their parking lot," Williams said.
n A one-year contract, with options for two more years, in the amount of $5,280 a month was awarded to Peninsula Janitorial for cleaning the Kenai Municipal Airport terminal.
n The city will continue to do it's banking at the same place, though the name is different. Wells Fargo, formerly National Bank of Alaska, will be the city's banker for the next year.
City Finance Director Larry Semmens said after "a certain amount" of negotiating with Wells Fargo, the city got the same deal as with the former NBA.
n The city removed Sean O'Reilly from the Airport Commission, since his work has kept him from most of the meetings this year. The mayor appointed retired Kenai Fire Chief Jason Elson to the vacancy.
Council member Jim Bookey reminded the council that the Harbor Commission was still short two members.
n Council member Pat Porter was appointed to fill Frazer's position as the council's liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The mayor ruled it is not a conflict of interest for Porter to hold that position, even though her daughter, Kelly Gifford, is one of the commissioners.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. in city hall.
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