Assembly looking at short agenda tonight

Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2001

It might be short, but today's agenda for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly includes wide-ranging topics of interest to the peninsula's equally widespread communities.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Borough Building in Soldotna.

The acquisition of two lots by the South Peninsula Hospital is set for public hearing. A 1998 appraisal estimated the total market value of the land at $53,500.

Charlie Franz, chief executive officer for South Peninsula Hospital, approached property owner Clarence Chow about purchasing the property in 1997. After Chow's death a year later, his son, Guy Chow, inherited the property and indicated he was not interested in selling the land.

However, Chow told Franz several months later he would consider selling the land for $100,000. When Franz made a counter offer of $90,000, Chow raised the selling price to $125,000. He later dropped it to $120,000, and in April the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area board of directors approved a purchase price of $120,000.

Now it looks as though more negotiations may be forthcoming, according to Chris Moss of Homer.

Until an offer is made, the board has asked either Moss or Milli Martin, also of Homer, to request that the assembly table the issue. Franz said he plans to meet with Chow in the next couple of weeks to discuss Chow's plans, which may include building a clinic on the land.

"We need to talk with him and see what he has in mind and try to determine the best approach to use," Franz said.

Conveying borough-owned land on Kalifornsky Beach Road to the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association for less than fair market value also is on today's agenda. In 1985, CIAA entered into a 30-year lease agreement with the borough that would expire May 31, 2015. The land currently is assessed at $139,100, and CIAA has paid $52,387 in lease payments. The ordinance up for public hearing this evening would authorize Mayor Dale Bagley to sell the land to CIAA via quit claim deed for the sum of $1.

"I'm pleased to see this moving forward," said Bill Popp of Kenai. "(The association) has done a lot for both commercial and sport fishing in terms of enhancing stocks. They are in tough times right now ... . I believe that the contribution of this land is one small way the borough can reduce CIAA's burden and show its commitment to healthy fisheries and tourism on the peninsula."

An ordinance to accept grants totaling $395,000 and appropriating that amount for the Kenai River Center riverbank restoration and education project is scheduled for introduction at the meeting.

The money comes from the Kenai River Sportsfishing Associa-tion Inc., the city of Soldotna, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and matching funds. The project, according to borough grants manager Bonnie Golden, will restore and revegetate 567 feet of riverbank; provide safe, habitat-friendly access for fishers; and improve educational opportunities.

"It always looked rather odd that we had the Kenai River Center but no access to the river from the center," Popp said. "It's a high demand area and it seems only logical to provide access in terms of the impact it has on the habitat."

Scheduled for public hearing tonight is an ordinance authorizing the borough administration to lease with an option to purchase to the U.S. Postal Service one acre of borough-owned land in Cooper Landing at the corner of Snug Harbor Road and the Sterling Highway. The post office currently sits on leased property; however, the lessor has notified the postal service it does not intend to renew the lease when it expires May 31.

"This needs to happen fast or these folks are going to be without a post office," said Ron Long of Seward.

With Oct. 2 elections passed and winning candidates sworn in, new committee assignments take effect today. They are as follows:

Finance Committee: Bill Popp, chair, and Pete Sprague, vice chair;

Lands Committee: Chris Moss, chair, and Gary Superman, vice chair;

Legislative Committee: Ron Long, chair, and Grace Merkes, vice chair; and

Policies and Procedures Committee: Milli Martin, chair, and Paul Fischer, vice chair.

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