Borough weighs moving SPH service area to south of Kachemak Bay

Jun 20, 2018

A proposal to change the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area now includes the shifting of two boundary lines. The ordinance originally proposed only to remove Ninilchik from the service area. But at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting Tuesday, assembly member Dale Bagley put forward a plan to include communities south of Kachemak Bay including Nanwalek, Port Graham and the areas surrounding Seldovia.

South Peninsula Hospital was originally against the plan to take Ninilchik out of the service area, saying the move would cost the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue each year. But if the service area was also moved to include communities south of Kachemak Bay, there would little financial impact on the hospital, accroding to hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro. 

During the meeting, assembly member Kelly Cooper summarized a resolution of support from the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Board.

"That board, in the spirit of compromise, does support the substitute ordinance," she said. "They look forward to having a public meeting when it's held and they would be hopeful in their spirit of compromise that this would not become an annual thing on that boundary moving."

The proposed change would not impact Seldovia since it is a first class city. The city would need to separately agree to be included in the proposal.

The Kenai Borough Assembly postponed voting on the ordinance until July 17. There will be a special hearing in the Homer area to address the new boundary line before the borough’s next meeting. If the assembly does pass the proposal, it will go to the voters. All residents potentially affected by the change would be able to vote.