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Roads still on agenda

Controversial changes back before assembly

Posted: Tuesday, September 03, 2002

A controversial ordinance requiring developers of new subdivisions to build roads to borough standards, as well as a measure prohibiting former assembly members from accepting borough jobs within a year of leaving office will be on the agenda at tonight's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The road standards measure, ordinance 2001-47, was adopted Aug. 6 by a 5-4 vote. However, at its Aug. 20 meeting, the assembly approved a move to reconsider the measure but postponed further action until tonight when all nine members are expected to be present.

Shortly after passage Aug. 6, questions arose regarding whether certain language actually led to the result intended. Among the issues still to be settled, possibly by amendment, will be clarifying when developers must bring access roads leading to their subdivisions up to standards, and how an exemption from the new standards applies where a new subdivision is in a remote location accessible by a maintained road.

Ordinance 2002-33, introduced Aug. 6 by assembly members Pete Sprague of Soldotna, Tim Navarre of Kenai North, Betty Glick of Kenai South, and Milli Martin of Diamond Ridge-Seldovia, would make former assembly members ineligible for employment by the borough for a period of one year after leaving office.

The provision is expected to pass. Supporters argue that the assembly should take no action that could be perceived as benefiting a member personally.

The ordinance would be somewhat similar to provisions in the Alaska Constitution that prohibit former state lawmakers from taking state jobs created while they were in office or jobs for which benefits were increased while they were in office. The provision, however, does not prevent a former lawmaker from holding the office of governor, lieutenant governor or becoming a member of Congress.

The ordinance goes further than the constitutional limitations on state lawmakers by drawing, as Sprague put it, "a bright line by simply prohibiting all such employment within a year of leaving the assembly."

However, although the existing draft does not say so specifically, according to borough Attorney Colette Thompson, nothing in ordinance could be use to prevent a former member of the assembly -- or for that matter, a sitting one -- from being elected to and taking on the job of mayor sooner than a year after leaving the assembly.

In addition, the ordinance would permit a former assembly member to be appointed to an unpaid board or commission position for which a per diem is paid.

Also up for adoption in an ordinance that would extend the property tax exemption granted to seniors who own their primary residents to seniors who rent their dwellings.

A proposed amendment to that new ordinance would extend its reach even further by making disabled veterans or their surviving spouses eligible for the exemption.



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