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Assembly OKs spending

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2007

Sizeable appropriations for ongoing capital improvements at Central Peninsula Hospital and for school district outbuildings were approved by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its meeting Tuesday.

The assembly also approved spending nearly $3.5million for improvements to Keystone Drive.

Ordinance 2007-19-23 sent $1.4 million in interest earned on $49 million in bonds issued in 2003 toward correcting building deficiencies identified during Phase III of the multi-phase, multi-year hospital construction project, including the need for an emergency power upgrade ($447,000), and replacing the roof of the Emergency Room ($250,000).

In addition, alternate items not awarded previously due to budget constraints are necessary to meet American Institute of Architects guidelines for hospitals and will be funded, including $355,000 for a blood draw area, $175,000 for an ER canopy, and $100,000 for relocating air intakes.

Ordinance 2007-19-26 revised a $217,000 appropriation included in the FY 2008 school revenue capital projects budget for portable classrooms to funding for areawide outbuildings.

According to Bill Kopecky, borough maintenance director, the money was mistakenly identified as a request for portable classrooms, but was actually intended for various outbuildings, including $170,000 for a maintenance shop in Seward that had to be replaced due to construction of a new middle school and access road.

Regarding reconstruction of Keystone Drive, Ordinance 2007-19-25 (substitute) accepted an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities grant of nearly $3.49 million for the project, and appropriated a further $21,379 in borough matching funds to the Road Service Area capital projects account.

Improvements to Keystone Drive are considered by the borough to be of major economic benefit that will enhance health and safety of area residents and be a positive environmental influence on the Kenai River.

The borough has entered a memorandum of agreement with DOT to manage the project in coordination with DOT personnel to assure the road is designed and constructed to borough standards. Once rebuilt and paved, the borough will assume maintenance responsibility for the road.

According to an online schedule, construction would likely occur in 2008 and 2009.

Two other ordinances that got public hearings at Tuesday's meeting led to postponements. They included Ordinance 2007-19-22 appropriating $850,000 in interest income to the South Peninsula Hospital project, delayed until Nov. 20, and Ordinance 2007-33 amending borough code to require new subdivision roads be built to borough standards before final plat approval, also delayed until Nov. 20.

Also postponed until then is further action on Resolution 2007-051, which would approve participation in the Fiftieth Anniversary of Alaska Statehood Celebration. At issue is expense attached to creation of a tabletop book on the history of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and how that should be done.

Borough Mayor John Williams, as well as members of the assembly, are looking for more ideas for ways to celebrate the half-century milestone along with other communities across the state.

The assembly approved Resolution 2007-070 authorizing Central Peninsula Hospital to acquire software necessary to upgrade its MRI machine.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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