Kenai council looks to add on

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

An infusion of youth could soon be coming to the Kenai City Council.

The council last week decided to go forward with a plan originally brought forward by council member Cliff Massie to add an ex-officio student member to the seven-person board.

"I just think it's a chance to have young people involved in the process," Massie said during last Wednesday's council meeting.

Massie said the council often overlooks input that can be gained by listening to a younger generation of Kenai residents.

"I think we're missing a lot by not talking to these people," he said.

Soldotna City Council already includes a student representative.

Council member Joe Moore said he also supports the plan to bring a nonvoting student member to the council. However, he said he wants to make sure that whoever is selected puts a high priority on participating in city government.

"I would want participation," Moore said.

Kenai Central High School Principal Dennis Dunn joined the discussion and said he would fully support a plan to bring one of his students to the government process.

"We would certainly be very supportive of entering into a relationship with the council," he said.

Dunn agreed to work with Massie and the city's administrative staff to set criteria for inclusion on the council and set up a process for selecting a student member. He said he's sure the student selected will be highly competent and responded to Moore's concerns by noting that full participation in council business would be a requirement for serving.

"Certainly that would be an expectation," Dunn said.

Several students attending the meeting for a school assignment nodded their heads when asked if they would favor the inclusion of one of their ranks on the council.

Massie, Dunn and the administration will now work to finalize the plan before bringing it back to the council for final approval.

In other action Wednesday, the council:

Scheduled a joint work session for 7 p.m. Monday with members of the Arctic Winter Games host society for the purpose of discussing the city's multipurpose facility as well as other city-related AWG issues.

Scheduled a work session for 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss an update to the city's supplemental airport master plan.

Scheduled a work session for 6 p.m. Dec. 15 with area legislators.

Directed City Manager Linda Snow to allow Boston-based Capital Crossing bank, which owns the Katmai Hotel, to cease operations for a period of six months while the bank tries to sell the property. City attorney Cary Graves told the council the bank would like to stop operations in order to not lose money at the hotel, which Graves said has failed to make a profit for years.

"It has been a nonperforming and distressed property for a long time," he said.

The bank needs council approval because a provision in the lease from the city states the property must be operated as a business.

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