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Homer City Council recap: August 12, 2019

City of Homer

Homer Mayor Ken Castner campaigned on the promise that he would not cast votes to break a tie when the city council split their votes evenly. He said he wanted council members, who often split on issues, to not depend on him to decide. At Monday night’s council meeting, in response to Castner casting tie-breaking votes on a couple of issues, Councilmember Rachel Lord brought forth an ordinance that would have required the mayor break ties.

The ordinance failed to pass introduction, with only councilmembers Lord and Aderhold voting in favor. Castner weighed in, saying that while campaigning he had not considered what would happen with ordinances that he introduced.

Mayor Castner said that in the future, the council can assume that anything he brings to the council will come with his vote attached to it. 

In other news, the council discussed, at length, the city’s current effort to move to a biennial budget. As part of that effort, a variety of formerly separate depreciation reserve funds are being combined on the city’s books, something that some on the council expressed concern about. The council instructed staff to research accounting software options that might allow clearer tracking of the various fund balances. 

And, there was a report from City Manager Katie Koester regarding the city’s settlement agreement with ENSTAR Natural Gas. The city, along with the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Kachemak City, was able to reach an agreement with ENSTAR regarding a dispute over the terms of payment of a tariff for the construction of the trunk line to the southern Kenai Peninsula. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has until Nov. 3 to approve that agreement or recommend something different.