City Manager Paul Ostrander

The city of Kenai administration has started cracking down on the city’s homeless and transient population, though at least one city official is concerned enough about the actions that he has urged caution.

"You know, in my mind, some of their rights are violated." - Vice Mayor Tim Navarre

City Manager Paul Ostrander reported to the council that he and the police chief removed tons of stolen items left by homeless people in various wooded areas of the city.

 

The city of Kenai will release its draft budget for the next fiscal year in a couple weeks. City manager Paul Ostrander spoke with KDLL about putting together a new budget amid all the uncertainty with the state budget. Last year’s general fund appropriations totaled a little more than $16 million with all expenditures coming in at just over $28 million and Ostrander expects a modest increase in the 2020 budget of less than one percent.

 


Nearly a half-a-million dollars has been spent from the Kenai Airport Terminal remodeling project’s contingency fund on asbestos abatement alone. However, the city is being reimbursed at a significant rate by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

City of Kenai administration brought forth an ordinance last week that would accept almost $409,000 from the FAA to reimburse two change orders that totaled almost $462,000.

“Almost of this is associated with asbestos abatement,” City Manager Paul Ostrander explained.

About half of Kenai’s first responders will be getting new radio equipment after a series of actions by the city council. At Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting the purchase was approved.

City Councilman Henry Knackstedt asked City Manager Paul Ostrander about the sole-sourcing of the purchase, which is allowed in city code under certain circumstance.

Kenai's city manager gave the city council a heads up on the budget process at last night's Kenai City Council meeting. Paul Ostrander said it's been taking up a lot of his time.

As work continues to remodel the Kenai Municipal Airport terminal building, businesses inside are suffering. At last week’s Kenai City Council meeting, the council took steps to relieve the financial burden all the construction is causing.

Introduced by Vice Mayor Tim Navarre, the resolution would give the city manager the power to adjust occupancy fees on a case-by-case basis.

Last week the Kenai City Council discussed online retailer Amazon's plans to start collecting and remitting taxes on the Kenai Peninsula. Mayor Brian Gabriel said the action should help put local business on a better footing.

“I'm all for a fair playing field and I think by working towards taxing products that are bought online but originate here, point of sale within our community, that we are at least leveling the playing field and being more fair to our brick and mortar stores that have come here invested in the community and providing their services.”

The Kenai City Council last week set its budget for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The budget appropriates $16,166,027 from the General Fund as part of a $28,105,942 total budget. Appropriations from the Enterprise and Internal Service Funds amount to just over $3 million, while the city’s Special Revenue Funds contribute about $8.75 million.

The council also committed $750,000 of unassigned General Fund money for future renovation and improvements to city facilities and streets. The employee salary schedule was also amended.