Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Redoubt Reporter

Tuesday night was the final Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting for three members who were forced off due to term limits. Assembly President Wayne Ogle of Nikiski, Paul Fischer of the central district and Dale Bagley of Soldotna all attended their last meeting -- at least for three years, when they will be eligible to run again.
    In his farewell address, Assemblyman Dale Bagley, who also served as borough mayor, recapped a 25-year career in local politics.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

A vote to change how some local service area boards are put together was postponed at Tuesday night’s borough assembly meeting. The boards oversee everything from firefighting to hospitals to recreation and senior services to roads.

  With all precincts reporting shortly before 10 pm, municipal election results have mostly taken shape.

 

A complaint has been filed against a group behind a host of negative and misleading political ads on the Kenai Peninsula.

Gavel to Gavel

 

Nikiski assembly candidate John Quick has been ordered to cease and desist working with a local political action group. 

 

 


 

Between all the mudslinging and negative social media ads, some of the candidates for borough assembly have actually taken the time to talk about their thoughts on one of the ballot propositions voters will decide in October.

 


 

Gavel Alaska

 

Former borough chief of staff and current assembly candidate John Quick has been named in a complaint filed to the Alaska Public Office Commission. Until this week, Quick had been listed as the director of a political action group that’s been buying ads on behalf of Quick and other assembly candidates, while targeting others with negative ads.

 

 


 

A fairly routine piece of legislation got a lengthy discussion at Tuesday’s borough assembly meeting. The assembly was less than enthusiastic about supporting the recommendations made by an elections work group, aimed at expanding access to the polls and increasing voter turnout.

  Last night the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly introduced an ordinance implementing one of the recommendations of the Election Stakeholders Group, which has been meeting since February.

The recommendation in question would change the way members of all Kenai Peninsula Service Area boards are seated. Instead of standing for election, they would be appointed by the mayor.

The introduction attracted comment from three men, all from Nikiski, who spoke against the measure.

The filing period has closed for borough assembly and school board candidates in this October’s municipal election.
    Seats for Assembly Districts 3, 4, and 7 are available for three-year terms, representing, Nikiski, Soldotna, and the Central Area, south of Soldotna.
    None of the incumbents, President Wayne Ogle, Vice-President Dale Bagley, and  long-time Assemblyman Paul Fischer, are on the ballot.

 

The fall ballot for borough elections is beginning to take shape. The assembly tackled a number of ordinances that, if approved would have sent some important questions to the ballot for voters to decide.

 

 


Kenai Peninsula Borough

 

Anglers looking for a spot to access the south side of the Kenai River near Soldotna have never had an easy go of it. Most public access, including boat launches, is on the north side. A resolution calling for a public boat launch off Funny River Road was adopted by the borough assembly last week, but, it doesn’t do much to advance a project that has long been on the wishlist of local residents.

 

 


 

If Tuesday night’s meeting was any kind of an indication, changing borough management from a strong mayor style to a manager style of governance is going to be a tough sell to voters. 

 

While 12 of the 19 boroughs around the state employ a manager to oversee day-to-day administrative operations, residents on the Kenai still go to the polls every three years to elect a mayor to serve in that role. But some on the assembly think it’s time for a change.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly unanimously adopted next year’s budget last night. Most of the work in terms of amending the proposed budget was taken care of over the previous two meetings, with much of the debate going into the funding of the so-called non-departmentals.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly had its annual debate over so-called non-departmental funding this week as it continues to work through next year’s budget.

 

A hiring freeze may be thawing out at the borough. The assembly approved a resolution at its meeting this week encouraging the administration to fill positions that have been open for more than a year.

More than 100 people were at the Seward High School auditorium for last night’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting. The assembly heard more than three hours of public testimony on two different education funding items.

The first was an ordinance that will appropriate $2.4 million in supplemental funding to allow the district to begin offering contracts to nontenured teachers. The assembly cast a 5-4 vote to approve that funding, but it will be subject to a potential veto by borough Mayor Charlie Pierce. When asked by assembly member Kelly Cooper if he intended to issue a veto, he said he wasn’t ready to speak to it. He was ready to speak to the reasons the borough and the school district find themselves in this situation, pointing to yet-to-be resolved budget drama in Juneau and his predecessor, Mike Navarre.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s annual meeting in Seward usually has a fairly light, local agenda. But this year, they’ve even switched venues from city hall to the more spacious high school auditorium as education funding measures on the agenda are sure to draw a crowd.

 

 


 

The assembly took nearly three hours of public testimony before it finally got an action item on the agenda. One of which was related to education funding.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly rebuked a key component of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget last night. A pair of bills Dunleavy has sent to the legislature would shift tax revenue from oil and gas properties from municipalities to the state. That would mean a roughly $15 million deduction in borough revenue, nearly 20 percent of what the borough brings in.

  At last night's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, many people stood up to speak out against proposed school funding cuts from the state, and asked that the borough provide some relief.

Here is an excerpt Anchor Point residents worried about the loss of the community's Chapman School.

 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved an ordinance that specifically protects whistleblowers from discrimination at its meeting Tuesday night. The new policy mirrors state statute, but the measure wasn’t approved without some contentious debate.

 

 


 

Work continues apace on an expansion project at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna updating the obstetrics wing and adding a catheterization lab. Planning began on the project more than two years ago.

 

 


 

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and administration from the borough school district held a budget work session Tuesday afternoon. The money struggles the district has been dealing with the past several years don’t look to have much relief coming in the next budget cycle.

 

 


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