Kenai council wraps up 2007

Approval of changes to health care plan increases postponed

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2007

Kenai City Council members wrapped their last meeting of the year up in less than 45 minutes on Wednesday. With no scheduled or unscheduled comments and two minor ordinances and resolutions to vote on, council members were out of the chamber no later than 7:45 p.m.

One of the main items on the docket for Wednesday's meeting was council approval for a contract renewal of the city's health insurance plan. The change would include a $1,000 out-of-pocket expense increase for city employees due to the rising cost of health care. The city council was expected to vote on how much of the cost it would absorb. Instead, Councilman Robert Molloy advised the council to postpone its approval until a special session next Wednesday.

Molloy also addressed a memo from City Clerk Carol Freas about the taping of council meetings and broadcast on cable TV. He requested a brief report for the council's meeting on Jan. 2, asking for a timeline of the project and when the council could expect a broadcast.

Councilwoman Linda Swarner echoed Molloy's sentiments regarding broadcasting and reminded council members to make sure their microphones were turned on.

"I want to thank the clerk regarding taping," she said.

When City Manager Rick Koch gave his report near the end of the meeting on Wednesday, he said he met with the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center about the lack of heating in their building. In order to retrofit the heater, Koch said the city would have to hire a designer to make sure the items in the museum portion of the center weren't damaged.

Kenai Mayor Pat Porter also asked council to consider a stone or a plaque in memory of Chester Cone who died on Dec. 16. Cone, she said, was part of the original committee that got the city charter together and there currently isn't a monument that shows who they were. Councilman Barry Eldridge asked if it would be appropriate to include a bronze plaque on the clock tower, but Porter said in her opinion, the clock is completed.

"In that area would be a good place," she said. "I did a proclamation for services and presented Mavis (Cones) with a gift representing the city."

During his report, Councilman Hal Smalley said he participated in a Washington, D.C., conference that included the Boys and Girls Club, law enforcement and 21 youth organizations dedicated to bringing attention to crime in communities across the country. Last year, Smalley said, representatives from 82 communities were present at this conference, but this year more than 250 attended. This conference also offered $20,000 to communities whose representatives listened to the presentations and submitted a blueprint of how they would use the money to benefit Boys and Girls Clubs, schools and other youth organizations in their cities.

The next council meeting is Jan. 2, but because there isn't any new business on the agenda, Porter said it may be canceled.

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at

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