This fall, voters in the Anchor Point and Ninilchik areas will consider whether to join forces on their emergency services.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly approved an ordinance last Tuesday that will ask voters on the Oct. 6 ballot whether they want to become a single service area for fire and emergency medical services. The move has had several public meetings and has been in the works since earlier this spring.
Most of it originates from concerns from Ninilchik residents about the sustainability of their EMS services. Right now, Ninilchik Fire and EMS is a nonprofit funded by the residents, and earlier this year a restructuring sent a scare through the community about having services at all. After a work group facilitated by the borough evaluated it, the most financially viable option seemed to be joining forces with Anchor Point’s fire and emergency service area, which starts just south of Ninilchik.
The service area would be called the Western Peninsula Emergency Service Area and cover from the southern boundary of the Central Emergency Service Area down to where the Kachemak Emergency Service Area begins, officially covering the entire western peninsula in official emergency services, from Nikiski to Homer.
Assembly member Brent Johnson of Clam Gulch said the impetus came from the people of Ninilchik.
"The long and short of it was that the people of Ninilchik voiced a desire to have improved services," he said. "They wanted to have something that they knew was going to be functioning if they—and there are many of them that are elderly—had health problems or a fire."
If the vote is successful, the combined area will have a mill rate of 2.95. If Ninilchik had decided to go it alone, the mill rate would have had to be set at 5.75 mills to cover the cost of a department, according to the ordinance.
The municipal election is scheduled for October 6.