Kenai Peninsula Borough

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

The Kenai city council approved new rules for gravel and other surface material extraction at its meeting this week.

Hurricane Florence has an unintended impact this week — a planned, nationwide emergency alert system test is being postponed to not confuse people during ongoing response efforts in the Carolinas.  

Thursday was supposed to be the day for a test of the nationwide Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. This includes the Emergency Alert System, which makes those test tones you hear periodically on TV and radio stations — including KDLL, and Wireless Emergency Alerts, which sends alert messages to cell phones.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

Next month, borough voters will be asked to settle three ballot questions. One asks for approval for a new school in Kachemak-Selo, that will cost about $5 million. The state will fund the remaining two-thirds of the project if voters give the ok. The other two deal with the boundaries between the Central and Southern Peninsula Hospital Service Areas.

 

 


 

 

Plans to relocate Central Emergency Services Station One in Soldotna are on hold for now. The borough assembly was supposed to vote on an ordinance approving the purchase of property near the intersection of the Sterling and Spur highways at its meeting last week. But that ordinance was withdrawn after the borough was unable to come to terms with one of the property owners.

 

The AK LNG project got a slight boost from federal regulators this week. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, will release its draft environmental impact statement a month ahead of schedule, in February next year.

Wiki Commons

Ballots for this fall’s municipal elections have been finalized, and most of the heated campaigning will be left for elections further up the political food chain.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly could be offering some opinion on annexation proceedings in Soldotna when it meets next.

 

What to do with the nearly $8 million dollars in the borough’s land trust fund was a central question this year as the borough budget was being put together. The mayor’s office wanted to use a portion to help fill the borough’s budget gap, but, the assembly wanted to see a fresh investment plan before the fund was used for general expenditures. That plan has been finalized, and will get a public hearing next week.

 


Kenai Peninsula Borough

 

The ordinance authorizing the purchase of land for a new Central Emergency Services station gets its next public hearing next week before the borough planning and zoning commission.

Courtest USDA

There’s an experiment growing in the borough’s gravel pit in Cooper Landing and it’s ready for harvest.

“There was a project about two years ago that result in an area being reclaimed. And so we had this nice, flat surface that was freshly top-soiled, and we’re looking at what to do with it in the long term. And for a temporary measure, we did some barley trials,” said Marcus Meuller, land management officer for the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Meuller said the department has been working toward an agriculture initiative to find ways to use borough land to make agriculture more available for residents, and the barley experiment fits right in.


Nikiski is identified as the best terminus for the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas Pipeline Project submitted by the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough wants to keep it that way.

At its meeting Tuesday, the borough assembly gave the administration the green light to apply for intervener status with the Federal Regulatory Commission as it considers AGDC’s AK LNG project. Having the status to intervene means the borough can weigh in on the project proposal with FERC. The deadline to apply to intervene is long past — May 1, 2017 — but the borough didn’t think that step was necessary at the time.

Now, though, other municipalities in the state are telling FERC the terminus should be somewhere other than Nikiski. John Quick, borough Mayor Charlie Pierce’s chief of staff, says the borough wants to be able to counter those claims.

Tobacco users could be a source of additional revenue to the Kenai Peninsula Borough if the assembly approves an ordinance coming up for consideration.

Borough Assembly Member Willy Dunne, of Homer, would like to impose an excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The measure came before the assembly’s Policies and Procedures Committee on Tuesday. Committee Chair Hal Smalley summarized the proposal.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will meet in special session in Homer Wednesday. The assembly will hold another public hearing on an ordinance to move the boundary between Central and South Peninsula Hospitals.

 

A discussion about taxes in the borough is looming. Throughout the budget process this spring, the question of what kind of tax is most fair has been raised, but another question is being asked, too.

 

 


Wiki Commons

 

An increased presence on social media has been a cornerstone for borough mayor Charlie Pierce since he took office. His administration has posted videos and updates and now, a poll. While online polls might be interesting or entertaining, rarely are they valid.

 


Alaska Gasline Development Corporation

 

The AK LNG project seems to be picking up some steam. A former partner in the project, BP, came back aboard last week with an agreement to supply North Slope gas to the 800-mile trans state pipeline.

The weather is finally warm and nearly dry enough for the annual rite of spring cleaning. While the Kenai Peninsula Borough solid waste department usually receives all manner of used goods, this weekend, it will specifically be taking in electronics.

belugaair.com

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough collects millions of dollars of sales tax each year. But some of that money is given back to businesses who remit sales tax on time. Could ditching that tax incentive could help the borough with its budget woes?  KBBI’s Aaron Bolton looked for the answer.

 

 


The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is eying a $1.3 million to $2 million budget deficit next school year. Much of that will be covered by the district’s reserve account. But the rest, depending on how state and borough funding shake out, could mean cuts in the classroom.


On this week's conversation, we talk with Robert Ruffner and Brent Johnson, members of the borough's latest working group on gravel pits. What's the balance between residential expectations and commercial opportunity and how can it best be achieved?

 

Oral arguments were supposed to be heard this week in Anchorage Superior Court regarding the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s invocation policy. But as has been the pattern since the suit was initially filed more than a year ago, this will have to wait.

This week, on Econ 919, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has been touting his plan to cover the borough’s $4 million-plus deficit this year with no new taxes. But a part of that plan means asking for administrative fees from the borough’s service areas. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran has more.


A working group looking into potential changes for the borough’s materials site code heard some staff recommendations at its most recent meeting.

You see the strangest things sometimes while scrolling through official documents, such as the School Revenue Projects, Fund 400, that was in Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce’s report to the assembly last week.

It’s a list of account balances for projects of things in borough schools that need replacing, fixing or removing. And tucked among sidewalk repair and locker replacement, there’s “Bat Removal.”

“Well, we had, we had some bat infestation at a couple facilities,” said Scott Griebel, the director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough maintenance department.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has been in office about three months now. So, as we get into the annual process of putting together a budget, how are things going? Are the conservative philosophies candidate Pierce ran on playing well with the realities of local government?

 

 

Pages