Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is hoping for a nonexistent in-person audience for its meeting this week. The borough is asking people not to attend the meeting in person, per federal recommendations to limit gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Brenda Ahlberg, community and fiscal projects manager, says the borough is working on plans for the public to still participate in meetings, but from a distance.

“Currently, the clerk is working with legal and IT on how we can conduct public meeting in the future so that we still have the ability for the public to participate, and being mindful of the current guidance to eliminate gatherings,” Ahlberg said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly met Tuesday night for a five-hour marathon meeting in Soldotna. 

A sales tax ordinance was approved by unanimous consent, which makes the borough one of 23 communities in the state that are organizing to collect sales taxes from online purchases. It has been quite an undertaking, said assembly President Kelly Cooper.

“I just have to take a minute to thank our finance director for the, I don’t know how many months that this commission has been working on this. It’s been extremely complex,” Cooper said.

The assembly postponed action on an ordinance brought by the mayor, to allow for gated communities in the borough.

There were some tense moments at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting Tuesday night, regarding a resolution of support for House Bill 198 in the Alaska Legislature, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation as a protected class to the law that allows for increased sentences for people who commit hate crimes.

Assembly President Kelly Cooper called the meeting to a halt at one point during public comment on the resolution. 

Tammie Willis, of Sterling, is one of several people who spoke in favor of the resolution. She talked about her experiences finding a threatening note with gay slurs on her truck, having a rock shatter her windshield and being attacked at her home.   

“On December 9, things escalated to include an assault in my home, where I was repeatedly cut with a knife and punched until almost my entire left side was covered in bruises,” Willis said. “It took 20 staples and two stitches to put me back together and almost a month for the bruises to heal.”

After Willis’ testimony, Assemblyman Jesse Bjorkman questioned whether Willis was lying about being attacked.

Assembly rejects reconsideration of gravel pit vote

Jan 8, 2020
Shaylon Cochran/KDLL


Despite more than a year of effort put in by a dedicated work group, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has been unable to pass new rules regarding gravel pits and material sites. An ordinance updating two sections of borough code was defeated last month, but a move to reconsider kept the debate going.



Assembly rejects veto of tourism funding

Dec 5, 2019

Funding for tourism marketing has become something of a political football in recent years. Just two years ago, the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council was the beneficiary of $300,000 in borough funding. That number was initially zeroed out for the most recent budget.