KPB Assembly recap: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Jan 22, 2020

George A. Navarre Building in Soldotna, Alaska
Credit KPB

At Tuesday night’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, Homer’s Gary Thomas was remembered with a commending resolution.

Introduced by Homer Assemblymember Willy Dunne, the resolution praised Thomas’ 40-years of service on the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and many other local causes and service area boards.

 "Whereas Gary will be remembered as an incredibly generous man, a mediator, a voice of reason, a dedicated father, grandfather and husband. He was the epitome of selfless service to our community and his volunteerism and community service have made the Kenai Peninsula Borough a better, safer and more harmonious place to live," Dunne read from the resolution.

Assembly members debated appropriating nearly a quarter-million dollars to provide for a Facility Management Strategic Plan. Nikiski Assemblymember Jesse Bjorkman tried to cut the $220,000 in allocated funds by $150,000, but the amendment failed.

“I won't be supporting dedicating funds outside of the budget process to go outside and hire. We're talking about five months until the next fiscal year., we could have approved enough money to have a position that would have handled projects and priorities that would have come up this next year. What we wouldn't be appropriating money for is the strategery that is being sought by the administration,” said Bjorkman.

Mayor Charlie Pierce outlined his intention with the ordinance.          

“I think this borough and the residents live in the borough need to get ready to perhaps look at the bonding measures taking on more debt. It's not something I'm real proud about or want to do. But this study or this review, I hope they can come back with honest, opinion from a third party professionals to say, This is what you have been doing and this is what we think you need to do," said Mayor Pierce.

The ordinance passed with broad support, 7-1, with only Bjorkman dissenting.
There were just a few public comments on the resolution calling for the reversal of Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision which granted corporations citizen-hood and outsized power in swaying elections.

After some assembly debate, the resolution passed 6-to-2, with Bjorkman and Soldotna Assemblymember Norm Blakley casting the no votes. Kenai Assemblymember Hal Smalley was absent.
The next meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is Tuesday, February 4.