Is money heading Soldotna's way?

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

To take advantage of about $150,000 in state grants, the Soldotna City Council tonight is expected to introduce and set for public hearing several ordinances accepting the grants and appropriating the money into the city budget. The grants are law-enforcement related.

To assist police with traffic stops, pursuits and sobriety tests, an Alaska Highway Safety Office grant for about $70,000 would be used to replace in-car video cameras and improve the automatic data transfer of information, according to City Manager Tom Boedeker.

"It will automate everything," Boedeker said Monday.

A $65,000 grant from the Counter-drug Technology Assessment Center would assist the Soldotna Police Department with records management, including the purchase of new computer hardware equipment.

Other grants would provide three new portable radios for police, pay for computer fraud-detection training and fund extra patrol efforts to nab drunk drivers.

The ordinances will be introduced tonight and set for public hearings Jan. 9.

In other business, newly elected Councilman Peter Micciche is slated to receive his first assignment from the mayor tonight. Micciche is to be appointed as the council's representative for the Economic Development District. Mayor Dave Carey also is scheduled to appoint Councilwoman Betty Obendorf as ex-officio member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and Councilman James Stogsdill as the city's representative on the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

Public hearings are scheduled for tonight on a number of ordinances introduced at the council's Dec. 12 meeting.

If approved, an appropriation of $10,000 would go toward the purchase of new computers for Soldotna Public Library. The money was donated to the city by a library patron who asked to remain anonymous.

Another ordinance up for a public hearing would give all council members a raise, as well as giving a raise to Planning and Zoning Commission members who attend monthly meetings. Council members' salary would go to $250 per month and planning commissioners' pay would be $75 for each regular meeting they attend, limited to two meetings per month.

Budgeted ski hill insurance money in the amount of $18,000 will be set aside for ski hill repairs and improvements rather than insurance this year as the council decided earlier to keep the attraction closed this winter in hopes of making it more user-friendly in the future.

Use of the hill has been limited, especially because skiers and snowboarders must hike back up after skiing or riding down, and because snowfall in recent years has been minimal.

The council has discussed the possibility of installing a rope tow and possibly adding snow-making equipment.

Boedeker is expected to recommend the city proceed with the Legislative Review method for annexing four sections of land adjacent to the city. Other alternatives involve voting, and Boedeker said, because each parcel of land proposed for annexation is different, he believes the Legislative Review method is more appropriate in order to complete the application in a timely manner.

An ordinance governing the annexation proposals is planned for introduction Jan. 9, he said.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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