Council welcomes newest members

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two new council members were sworn-in at the Kenai City Council meeting Wednesday night, after results of the Oct. 5 election were officially certified.

Terry Bookey and Brian Gabriel Sr. beat out incumbents Hal Smalley and Barry Eldridge to serve the city in the two at-large member positions for the three-year terms.

Boookey said his first meeting as a council member went well.

"It was better than expected. I was nervous being up here for that first moment," he said, but "it was exciting nonetheless."

Gabriel said he was just really jazzed to be up there sitting on the council.

Likening the experience to the first time he flew solo when he was taking flying lessons, he said the meeting was "really freeing" and "exciting."

"It's an awesome feeling to be up here," Gabriel said while sitting behind his newly engraved council name plate.

Pat Porter was also sworn in for her third term as Kenai mayor Wednesday.

Kenai clerk Carol Freas certified the election results including poll and absentee votes for the three politicians. The total voter turnout for the regular election was 29 percent.

Other council items:

* Council took public testimony from three parties relating to the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska (CINGSA) facility in Kenai. Vincent Goddard, a resident and owner of Inlet Fish Producers, testified against the company's proposed location due to public safety issues and brought up an expert in petroleum engineering, Dr. John Robertson from California to explain his concerns with the gas facility. In response to those presentations, Richard Gengtges, project manager for CINGSA, spoke to the company's federal permitting process and safety requirements.

* Council approved the $3,500 purchase of some four acres near the Woodland subdivision from the State of Alaska for public-use purposes.

* Council approved a resolution in support of oil companies including Buccaneer Alaska to use funds from the Economic Recovery Act to acquire a jack-up drill rig to be used in Cook Inlet.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at

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