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Homer City Council discusses recreation and public safety

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On Monday, May 9 the Homer City Council adopted several items during their regular meeting; most were related to public safety and recreation.

During his committee report, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblymember Lane Chesley updated the council on upcoming Borough projects. Chesley said the Homer High School roof replacement project is moving forward and should be finished by the end of the summer. Revenues are up for the Borough which means the borough will be able to fully fund the school district. Additionally, Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce included appropriations in excess of 3 million dollars matching state funds to construct a new Kachemak Selo School. Mayor Pierce is also proposing a decrease in the mill rate from 4.7 to 4.5. mills during the next regular assembly meeting next Tuesday, May 17 at 6 PM.

Following the Committee Reports, the first order of City business was Ordinance 22-23, that would appropriate over eighteen thousand dollars from the General Fund for the purchase of bidirectional amplifier systems for the Police Department. The amplification systems will provide more signal coverage for public safety radios. The ordinance was adopted unanimously.

Next was Resolution 22-043 which would establish the City Council’s intent to promote sidewalks and safe pedestrian access. The resolution was sponsored by Councilmembers Lord, Davis and Erickson.

 “[It’s important] to get this on the table, to get us working as a full body in front of the public and engaging with the Commissions to move forward to improve pedestrian safety, road safety in the community,” said Council member Rachel Lord. “And that takes a lot of different paths, including changes to city code, planning for sidewalks and road improvements.”

Several ordinances to improve pedestrian safety will be up for adoption at the next regular meeting.

These include ordinances appropriating over 2 million dollars for a variety of projects including $106,000 for the construction of the Main Street Sidewalk Project, $850,000 to establish a non-motorized transportation opportunity fund, $500,000 to establish a pavement restoration fund and over $56,803 to the small works trail maintenance program. Also up for discussion is an $511,228 contract to East Road Services to improve drainage and small road repairs. All of these ordinances will appropriate funding from the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails (or HART) fund. Final reading and discussion for these ordinances will be at the next regular City Council meeting on May 23, 2022.

Another resolution discussed was Resolution 22-036. It approved an agreement between the City of Homer and South Peninsula Little League, Inc. regarding maintenance and use of city land at Karen Hornaday Park. Homer Mayor Ken Castner hoped that the agreement could be used as a template for future agreements between organizations and the city.

“This is our first time to finally get something in writing for the Little League,” said City of Homer Recreation Manager, Mike Illg. “We have to protect the city. Recreational use agreement between nonprofits or scheduled user groups is a standard procedure in municipal recreation. The fact that Homer has never done it —that raises a lot of eyebrows.”

Other relevant items were a discussion of HERC building during the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting. Homer resident Kenneth Bryant offered an unsolicited demolition proposal for the HERC during public commentary.

“So past couple weeks, I took it upon myself to make some phone calls, do some research. And so far, I have found a way to roughly up-cycle 50% of the building, tear it down through volunteer service. And probably do the whole project for the I think it was between $100,000 and $150,000,” said Bryant.

The Council recommended that Bryant present his proposal in writing to City Administration and to schedule a work session for further discussion.

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for May 23 at 6 PM. KBBI will broadcast the meeting live on KBBI AM 890 and on the web at www.kbbi.org.

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