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Homer City Council steps up efforts to improve transportation

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At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Homer City Council, many of the items on the agenda were focused around a central theme: transportation. All of the items during the Public Hearing addressed either motorized or non-motorized transportation, and all the ordinances were adopted. First was ordinance 22-24, which will appropriate $106,000 to the Main Street Sidewalk Fund.

“It's been an item on the city's CIP (Capital Improvement Project) list for a long time,” said Councilmember Rachel Lord. “So it feels really good to be utilizing some of our HART funds to actually build this. Pioneer, I think, all the way up to the park at the top at the turn off to the hospital is going to have sidewalks. And that's really a huge deal.”

The next item on the agenda was Ord. 22-25. It would appropriate a total of 850,000 to establish a Non-motorized Opportunity Fund. City of Homer Public Works Director Jan Kaiser, explained that these funds could be used, for example, to work with developers to create non motorized paths when new subdivisions are being planned.

“The opportunity is to fill some gaps in non motorized transportation. While we have the chance to do so.” said Kaiser.

The next item on the agenda was Ord. 22-26, another ordinance focused on transportation improvements. It would appropriate $500,000 from the HART fund to establish a pavement restoration program. Ord. 22-27 allowed for another $511,228 to be appropriated for a contract to East Road Services for a small works road and drainage repair program. The final Ordinance, Ord. 22-28, would appropriate an additional 56,000 from the HART fund to the small roads work program.

Homer resident Robert Archibald, who commented on every Public Hearing ordinance at Tuesday's meeting, praised the council’s work and stressed the need for equipment to accompany human power.

“Trails cost money to keep up,” said Archibald. “A lot of volunteers put time and effort into trails in this town. The city has spent money for material and it has worked out quite well. But as the trail crew gets grayer and their knees don't work that well, we're going to have to look at other means and ways of using mechanized equipment or something of that nature.”

Other significant items that passed through the consent agenda included a resolution supporting Homer Electric Associations pursuit of funding for a broadband expansion project, an ordinance allocating 150,000 to repair or replace sewer manholes, and a resolution establishing Homer’s property tax mill rate at 4.5 mils for 2022.

The next regular meeting of the Homer City Council will be on June 13, at 6 PM. You can listen to the meeting here at KBBI AM 890 or stream online at kbbi.org.

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Desiree has called Alaska ‘home’ for almost two decades. Her involvement in radio began over 10 years, first as a volunteer DJ at KBBI, later as a host and producer, and now in her current role as a reporter. Her passions include stories relating to agriculture, food systems and rural issues. In her spare time, she can often be found riding her bicycle, creating art from handmade paper, or working in the garden.