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Homer City Council supports harbor expansion study, takes next steps on new comprehensive plan

Sabine Poux

Homer City Council passed a resolution supporting the continuation of the city’s Harbor Expansion feasibility study at last night’s meeting. That and other legislative actions up for discussion at the last meeting of the year.

Since the announcement of the upcoming study slowdown, City Council spent the following weeks discussing next steps. Council Members Rachel Lord and Storm Hansen turned a memorandum they introduced at a council meeting earlier this month into a resolution for last night’s meeting.

Lord and Hansen talked with city staff and members of the Port and Harbor Commission. During the meeting, Hansen explained why the resolution should go through.

“I feel like that we should approve the resolution because it shows our support,” Hansen said, “we are not promising to spend money. We're just setting it aside, and it shows that we are committed to this project.”

Five community members also commented in support of the resolution, including Mark Zeiset, a Homer resident and Port and Harbor commissioner. He laid out reasons to support the resolution, such as the value of geophysical data that would be collected during the study and how the funds already spent would be wasted if the city ended their support.

“If we back out now I feel that we're backing out on our commitment that we've made, and we're not being good stewards of the money that was already given to us,” he said.

The council also passed resolutions setting up a contract to purchase membrane filter trains, confirming next year’s commission and advisory board schedules, creating a donation account for the 40th anniversary of Homer’s sister city relationship with Teshio in Japan, approving a task order for documents related to a fish grinding building replacement project, as well as agreeing to participate in a joint exercise for tourism promotion with other cities on the Kenai Peninsula.

After amending a resolution about forming a comprehensive plan steering committee, the council passed it. The committee will consist of two council members, two commissioners and one city resident that must all must apply to be considered.

One resolution regarding a solid waste collection and disposal contract failed.

In addition to resolutions, the council introduced three ordinances in the consent agenda and passed every ordinance up for public hearing except for one that aimed to lower the speed limit in cul-de-sacs, which they postponed.

Representatives from South Peninsula Hospital, Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council and the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District also gave presentations.

Finally, council members, City Manager Rob Dumouchel and Mayor Ken Castner all thanked Homer public works director and city engineer Jan Keiser in their closing comments. She attended last night’s meeting and will be retiring at the end of the year.

Council Member Caroline Venuti reflected on the work Keiser did for the city and thanked her.

“You said, ‘water and sewer are the two things we need to deal with the city,’ and man you did it,” she said to Keiser.

City Council will meet again on January 8th next year.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.