The Kenai City Council held a hybrid, in-person and phone-in meeting Wednesday night. The first order of business was extending the city’s emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City offices and facilities are closed for the time being but staff are still available over email and phone to assist the public.
The council also modified city code to be able to hold meetings more over the phone in the future. Existing code limited how many council and commission members could call in to establish a quorum. Meetings will still be held in a way that allows participation from the public but council and committee members will be participating from afar.
In other business, the council passed a resolution supporting Robert Ruffner for appointment to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Ruffner is the retired executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum.
Gov. Bill Walker appointed Ruffner to the board in 2015, though he was not confirmed by the Legislature. He was appointed again and approved in 2016 and served a three-year term. Gov. Mike Dunleavy declined to re-appoint Ruffner to the seat but Ruffner is trying again this year.
Ruffner was the first Kenai Peninsula resident to serve on the board in over 20 years. The Kenai Council unanimously supports his appointment. Mayor Brian Gabriel borough the resolution forward.
“If you put Robert in a group of any amount of people from diverse backgrounds and industries within the fishing industry, the one person that would represent the fish is Robert Ruffner,” Gabriel said.
Councilmember Jim Glendenning would like to have local representation again.
“He is very thorough in his analysis and would well represent our area, which is sorely needed in the system,” he said.
The council also approved a new city logo. Three options were developed by Divining Point, LLC, a marketing firm that is contracting with the city. City Manager Paul Ostrander says one design option was too abstract and one wasn’t abstract enough, leaving only one option to bring to the council.
It’s a fish, of sorts, Stylized, anyway.
“Is this logo supposed to also be a representation of the letter K?” asked Councilmember Glenese Pettey.
The answer is yes, it is shaped like a K.
The old logo is fairly busy, with the Russian Orthodox chapel in Old Town front and center, an oil rig in the distance and mountains beyond that. Mayor Gabriel says the new logo is more versatile.
“This was started being widely used in the ’70s,” Gabriel said. “Well, so were bellbottoms and we don’t see those too much anymore. I like the old logo, don’t get me wrong, I think it served the Kenai well for many decades but as far as if you’re going to do exactly what you’re trying to do as far as market the city, it’s hard to put that into marketable form as well as the new logo.”
Eventually, there will be a new tagline rolled out, as well. “The best place to Alaska” will replace “Village with a past, City with a Future.”