Learning the ropes is the theme of Saturday's training session for old and new members of Kenai Peninsula Borough service area boards and advisory planning commissioners.
Ed Oberts, assistant to Borough Mayor Dale Bagley, said the day's agenda begins at 8:30 a.m. at the borough assembly chambers in Soldotna. Oberts said he expects the day will end at 4 p.m. Topics to be covered include roles and responsibilities, conflicts of interest, gifts and contributions, open meeting laws and how to run effective meetings. Finance and risk management personnel are scheduled to give presentations on budgets and insurance.
"There'll be a lot of time for questions and answers," Oberts said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's a public meeting and everyone is welcome."
Borough Planner John Czar-nezki estimated more than 100 invitations were issued for Saturday's activities.
"The whole program will be good," said Czarnezki, of the program that will mix basics with incentives for people who have been on boards and commissions for a while. He specifically pointed to two afternoon sessions, scheduled for 1 and 2:15 p.m., on geographic information systems, that he said would be particularly interesting.
"It will be a pretty good show and give folks a good idea of some of the capabilities available for analyzing issues and problems," the borough planner said. "We hope to get people thinking how they can apply their own issues, whether service area boards for roads or fire service boards or planning commissions."
Czarnezki said GIS can be used for everything from transportation systems to analyzing soil types and helping identify high- and moderate-hazard areas for fire risk. It has even been used to do market research and develop business plans.
Anchor Point APC chair Joanne Collins also plans on taking part in Saturday's gathering.
"I've been on the advisory planning commission for a long time but haven't been to any training," Collins said.
She is especially looking forward to the session on conflicts of interest, which Collins said are hard to avoid in a small community like Anchor Point.
"It's an important issue because in our own minds we might not have a conflict, but outwardly it might look like we have," Collins said. "I'm in the tourism industry, but does that exclude me from all conversations with regard to tourism?"
Included on the invitation list are nine appointees Bagley will submit to the borough assembly for confirmation at Tuesday's regularly scheduled assembly meeting.
Doug Ruzicka, of Anchor Point, an applicant for an opening on the Anchor Point Advisory Planning Commission, plans to take advantage of Saturday's schedule.
"I've always had an interest in land planning," he said, adding that the training will be time well spent whether or not he is eventually selected for appointment.
With regard to openings on advisory planning commissions, Oberts said, applications are currently being accepted for three vacancies on the Kachemak Bay Advisory Planning Commission and one on Anchor Point's commission. In order to submit appointees to the assembly at its Dec. 5 meeting, applications must be received by Nov. 22.
"We have two good applications from Anchor Point and one from Kachemak Bay," Oberts said. "We're planning to get as many appointments as we can by Dec. 5."
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