An uncommonly large police presence on New Year’s Eve last year may have contributed to an orderly and peaceful celebration in Soldotna.
With that in mind, Soldotna Police expect to have as many as six uniformed officers patrolling on the last night this year, Sgt. Tod McGillivray told members of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday.
“Hopefully (New Year’s Eve) will be nice and calm,” McGillivray said.
In other police business addressed by the city council, a $90,000 purchase of police radios and support equipment was approved as a sole source purchase.
In a letter to the council, Police Chief John Lucking Jr. said a sole source purchase was desirable because ProComm Alaska is the stat’s only authorized vendor for Motorola, maker of the equipment.
Funding for the multi-jurisdictional project is coming from the Department of Homeland Security, and in addition to Soldotna, police in Kenai, Homer and Seward will receive the equipment through the purchase, according to Mc-Gillivray.
The new radios are part of a long term acquisition project and will be compatible with the Alaska Land Mobile Radio System being installed statewide.
The city council also met in closed, executive session Wednesday to discuss upcoming contract negotiations between the city and unions representing police and other city workers.
Labor agreements with both groups expire next summer, and City Manager Tom Boedeker said three-year pacts will be sought with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents city employees, and the Public Safety Employees Association, which represents police and police department clerks.
The council introduced an ordinance amending the city’s sign code, which will be up for public hearings Jan. 10 and Jan. 24.
As amended, the code would limit freestanding signs to 20 feet in height and 81 square feet in area. One 110-square-foot sign would be allowed per premise in the city’s commercial district. Additional freestanding signs would be limited to 81 square feet.
Freestanding signs that already exist within the city’s commercial district and do not conform with the amended ordinance, would need to be brought into compliance by June 30, 2017.
Following the two public hearings, if approved, the sign regulations would go into effect Jan. 31.
In other business, the council:
· Appropriated $114,025 to reimburse a developer for installing a sewer lift station to serve the Westgate Subdivision;
· Appropriated $11,000 to pay for relocating a storm drain, which was moved to accommodate the installation of a permanent hangar at the Soldotna Airport;
· Appropriated $5,000 for appraising property identified in the Airport Master Plan as being desirable for acquisition.
Acting as the Board of Adjustment, council members unanimously adopted the written decision disallowing an 80-foot cell phone antenna tower, which was to have been erected next to the Peninsula Center Mall.
Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael told council members damage to the city’s river boardwalks, caused by ice, “will probably hit around $100,000.”
In addition to walkways and stairways damaged at Swiftwater Campground, Carmichael said, “About 300 feet of Rotary (Park walkways) have been demolished.”.
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