Special Assessment Districts Proposed For Gas Utilities In Ninilchik, Funny River

Natural gas service continues to expand on the Kenai Peninsula. Last year, a utility special assessment district was set up in Homer to bring gas there. Now, two other areas within the Borough are looking for a similar deal.

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Two ordinances are up for discussion the next time the Borough Assembly meets. Each proposes to establish a new utility special assessment district, one for a couple subdivisions near Ninilchik and another for the Funny River area. The Ninilchik project would serve the Deep Creek Estates and Fairwood subdivisions with a 15,000 foot run of 2 inch pipe. The USAD there will cost a little more than $400,000 in total, which breaks down to about $3,800 for each of the 107 parcels that would be served. Further north, the project in Funny River is a lot bigger.

Enstar submitted plans in January to get a pipeline laid underneath the Kenai River to make it there.

““The pipeline itself, in Sterling, is going to be running south along Swanson River Road to Scout Lake Road, extending down Husky Street to the banks of the Kenai River,” said John Sims, Enstar’s Director of Business Development.

If the Borough Assembly approves the USADs in both areas by July 1st, Enstar will finish the work this year. Sims says the work under the Kenai River will be done long before then.

“We’ll be well done with the bore before fishing season’s up and running. That’s one of the permitting requirements we have. We need to watch any sort of confrontation or conflict with that sort of thing,” Sims said.

For Funny River residents, the project will cost more than twice as much as in Ninilchik, nearly $940,000, but split among more than twice as many parcels. About $3,500 between 264 parcels. It will take nearly 40,000 feet of pipeline to get them all hooked in. Those fees are payable over ten years, and homeowners will also have to shoulder the additional cost getting individual buildings hooked up.

When Enstar began signing up customers in Homer and Kachemak City last year, that hook up fee was in the $1,500 to $2,000 neighborhood. But that’s if the Assembly adopts the ordinances. It has the authority to invest in up to $3 million in special assessments annually. With these two new districts, the Borough’s total investment would be a little more than $2 million. The Assembly will decide on the new USADS when it meets next Tuesday the 18th.

-Shaylon Cochran/KDLL-

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