Little bridge costs come to $50,000

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2004

Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker incited disbelieving head-shaking and raised eyebrows with the news that the state of Alaska and the city of Soldotna see a roughly $50,000 difference in part of the funding of the bridge project due to begin this spring.

Boedeker said the price difference originates from design betterments from the state side and inspection fee alterations.

"This $50,000 is the sum of a lot of little costs, but they add up," Boedeker said.

The costs officially were addressed in resolution 200488, which passed and authorized the city manager to negotiate and execute a utility agreement with the state. Ordinance 811, also dealing with the bridge project, is scheduled for debate Dec. 8. The ordinance includes replacing sewer lines during the project, with a projected savings to the city of $200,000. Boedeker said including the sewer lines, which currently are not part of the project, would be most cost effective.

The Waste Water Treatment Plant also is due for some updates as resolutions passed authorizing funding for a new U/V water treatment system. Steve Bonebrake, public works director, said the current treatment system uses chlorine to disinfect the water. The U/V system is cleaner, cheaper and friendlier to the environment.

"The new system will eliminate the use of chemical treatment so no chemicals will be going into the river. Within the next 30 to 60 days, the new system should be up and running," he said.

Bonebrake added that the emergency generator also will need to be replaced because it will not be adequate to run the entire plant with the addition of the new treatment system.

In other discussion, council member Jim Stogsdill pointed out there could be a problem with bicycle helmet citations and said he was curious to see how fines would be issued, if at all. The logistical problem would be the cost to issue citations with a worry the city could lose money enforcing it.

"Why would we have a law if it won't be enforced? Maybe we should have an alternative to fines," Stogsdill said.

Council member Jane Stein disagreed and said the ordinance is needed because the injuries sustained in bicycle accidents are 100 percent preventable.

"I've seen what these accidents do to kids too many times. I've experienced too many young kids grieving for their classmates over something that was preventable. Families really suffer," Stein said. "I can do something about this."

The helmet law currently states that minors 16 years and younger are required to wear certified helmets while bicycling or during similar activities. Stein also suggested the law should apply to all riders instead of just people 16 and younger.

The ordinance is up for public hearing at the next meeting.

In the public comments and presentations portion of the meeting, representatives of Soldotna Montessori Charter School explained how learning about community service and responsible leadership led them to clean 10 area parks and school campuses. The students collected pledges at the rate of one penny per pound of garbage with a goal of gathering 1,000 pounds of trash. Including flat pledges and 760 pounds of trash, the class earned $3,297, and congratulations from council members.

Community support was essential in making the class project successful, school representatives said. Parents supervised while 101 students collected litter. Student presenters were Maddy Ransom, Camila O'Toole, Nathan Carrico, Katelin Christenson, Rachel Beckmann and Natalie Chenault.

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