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Borough tallying earthquake repair costs

While the Kenai Peninsula Borough survived the Nov. 30, 7.0 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in rosy condition compared to Anchorage and areas of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, it didn’t escape unscathed. Damage reports are still coming in and the repair bills are adding up.

The borough assembly will see an ordinance at its meeting Tuesday asking to appropriate $450,000 to cover repair and inspection costs already incurred and more yet to come.

“The borough, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, did a rapid assessment to ensure that the buildings were safe," said Dan Nelson, manager of the borough’s Office of Emergency Management. "We went back and did a little bit more detailed structural analysis. So what we’ve been finding is there are some facilities — a couple of our schools and some of our general government facilities — that have damage, but we just believe that there may be more underlying damage or other additional specialists, perhaps engineers or subject matter specialists, might be required to help us get a good handle on that.”

Nelson said the money will be used to reimburse departments and service areas that paid for repairs out of their regular budgets and for additional anticipated costs.

So far, Maintenance, Purchasing and Contracting, Roads, the Office of Emergency Management, Solid Waste, North Peninsula Recreation, Nikiski Fire, Central Emergency Services, Kachemak Emergency Services and Central Peninsula Hospital Service Area have had damages from the earthquake, but nothing major.

At the hospital, the issues were things like broken glass and cracked drywall. Nelson says no medical equipment was damaged. Of the work yet to be done, nothing is expected to close facilities or interrupt services.

“We don’t foresee any immediate impacts to the public. We certainly do see many minor issues that you might notice going through our facilities, like cracks in drywall and other things," Nelson said. "If our building engineers, or some of these folks that we bring in to help us, decide that there might be a more involved inspection, we’ll certainly cross that when the time comes. Of course, if it’s dealing with our schools, we’re going to do our best to schedule that outside of the school year/the school day so the educational activities aren’t affected.”

The borough’s emergency declaration runs through June 7. The borough assembly meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in assembly chambers in Soldotna, which will be christened the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers in a dedication ceremony at 4:45 p.m. As always, the assembly meeting will be broadcast live on KDLL.

Jenny Neyman has been the general manager of KDLL since 2017. Before that she was a reporter and the Morning Edition host at KDLL.
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