Assembly approves emergency ordinances over video meeting

Apr 3, 2020

Credit Kenai Peninsula Borough

   The Kenai Peninsula Borough held a special meeting this (Friday) afternoon to further address issues surrounding the coronavirus emergency. The meeting was held over the Zoom video conferencing app. The public were able to listen in via phone or via web. Including assembly and staff, approximately 50 people were signed in.
    After a history of the borough’s response by Emergency Manager Dan Nelson, the assembly took care of some emergency ordinances. The first one extends the special assessment district balance due dates until the end of June. According to the borough’s Brandi Harbaugh, there are 15 assessment districts in the borough. She said 450 bills have been mailed, but have only received about half so far. It passed unanimously.
    The second, which also passed, would allow South Peninsula Hospital to hold more than 90 days worth of cash on hand during the Covid-19 pandemic. Usually, SPH deposits any funds in excess of that amount to be transferred to the borough for deposit into the hospital replacement and expansion fund. Homer Assembly member Willy Dunne had some concerns about delaying deposits to the fund, especially since they’ve been few and far between.    
In addition, permission for South Peninsula Hospital to apply for the Payroll Protection Program under the recently-passed CARES act was granted.
    Borough Finance Director Brandi Harbaugh explains.
“It's a loan that has been offered to agencies with payroll or employees under 500. And it is calculated based on an eight-week payroll period,” she said. “Then if that loan is approved, there are stipulations that if South Peninsula Hospital were to restore their employment levels to that of the measurement date by June 30, the federal government has guaranteed that they will forgive the loan in full.”
    The assembly also unanimously approved an emergency appropriation of $125,000 for the Office of Emergency Management. Nelson reported that the $50,000 earmarked for this event have already been expended.
    The assembly has scheduled its next meeting for April 21.