Porter, Moock sworn in to council

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2001

Four of the six seats on the Soldotna City Council are now occupied by women. Audrey Porter and Sharon Moock, both of whom ran unopposed in October's municipal election, were sworn in by City Clerk Pat Burdick at Wednesday's meeting.

Council member Jane Stein, who won re-election in October, was not at the meeting, and will be sworn in Nov. 14. Joyce Cox is the fourth woman on the council. The gender minority is now comprised of Jim Stogsdill and Kurt Olson.

Moock noted she was sworn in almost exactly five years to the day from when her last term on the council ended -- Oct. 23, 1996.

Moock was later appointed to the city's construction management committee, while Porter was appointed to the airport commission.

Another new face soon will join the council. Hebert Martin, the 18-year-old son of Pearline Martin of Soldotna, was appointed by Mayor David Carey as the student representative to the city council. Martin is a senior at Soldotna High School.

"I felt it would be an interesting experience and a good way to see how the nitty-gritty of the government works," Martin said.

Martin will attend all city council meetings, be allowed to provide input, just as full-fledged council members do, and vote. While his vote will be noted, it will not be calculated into the final tally. The mayor himself was a student rep to the Soldotna City Council when he attended Kenai Central High School.

In addition to learning about the way the city operates, Martin said his agenda at the moment is comprised of getting the running track at SoHi resurfaced. Currently hard, cracked pavement, Martin said he'd like a modern, urethane track similar to the one at cross-town high school Skyview.

A resolution expressing support for rebuilding the track was passed by the council at Wednes-day's meeting. It requests the project be added to the Kenai Peninsula Borough's funding list. It is the second time the council has come out in favor of rebuilding the track. The first time was in October 1999, when it passed a similar resolution.

In other council news:

n Drag racing at the Soldotna Municipal Airport may be sputtering out. City Manager Tom Boedeker said noise complaints from last year's events are preventing him from scheduling six race weekends for 2002.

"We have to sit down and go over our polices about the amounts and types of activities we can have there," he said. "At this point, I suspect, unless we resolve the issues, I will not allow any more races."

In addition to the noise complaints, Boedeker said access by other airport users to hangars and other facilities is being compromised by the races presented by the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions Drag Racing Division.

n The council authorized changing the fees charged for camping and parking in the city's waterfront parks and campgrounds.

At Rotary Park, the day parking fee will be $3, though not transferable to other parks. Previously, access was $5, or free if a patron bought access to Swiftwater or Centennial parks.

Overnight camping at parks will be $11 a night starting in mid-June; boat launch fees will be $7 each; a combined camping-boat launch will be $16; day-use passes for vehicles under 22 feet will be $40 per season and $60 per season for vehicles over 22 feet. The campground day use fee will be $5. For more information on fees, call the city's Parks and Recreation Department at 262-3151.

n The city authorized a new position in the Parks and Recreation Department, that of laborer. The position will be responsible for custodial work at city hall, the police station, library and maintenance shop office and work six hours a week for parks.

The in-house performance of those janitorial duties will replace the canceled contract with Todaly Unlimited. Boedeker said many city departments were unhappy with the service they received and have been thrilled with the work an employee with Parks and Rec has been doing the last two months.

Boedeker said the problem with bidding out the work is that the city may be expecting to much from a private firm for what it pays them. At $36,642, doing the work in-house will likely cost the city about $4,000 more a year than contracting it out, he said.

City Clerk Burdick applauded the council for approving the measure.

"You don't know how much this means to those of us in this building," she said.

Carey announced a meeting between the city, local business owners and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to discuss a problem with signs in the right of way along the Sterling Highway through town. The meeting will be Nov. 14, just prior to the next regularly scheduled council meeting at city hall.

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