Homer City Council

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

Updated: 4:01 p.m. 3/12/19

The Homer City Council has penned a strongly worded letter to Gov. Michael Dunlevy asking him to explore possible revenue options such as a state income tax instead of balancing the state’s budget through reduced state services.   

The letter says the far-reaching cuts in Dunleavy’s budget proposal reflect quote, “little concern for the burden that you have passed on to the residents of Alaska and the local governments that serve them,” end quote.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

There has been some contention surrounding a proposed residential drug treatment center in Homer. Set Free Alaska, a Christian-based organization, wants to utilize a state grant and some matching funds from the city to start the treatment center downtown.

However, some on the Homer City Council question whether the money the city has in mind could be legally spent on the project.   

Courtesy of Enstar

There has been a misunderstanding between the  City of Homer and Enstar Natural Gas.

Enstar helped fund the extension of its natural gas line to Homer in 2013. The state funded part of the extension too. However, the city and some in the Legislature were unaware that Enstar’s contribution was actually a loan with interest. Customers are supposed to pay the gas company back through an extra charge on their bill.

But, that loan balance isn’t dropping. In fact, it has grown by nearly $2 million  

Courtesy of Robert Bornt

A new Homer-based pot shop sidestepped a major roadblock Monday. 420 on Main plans to open its retail shop and grow operation on Main Street. The business also plans to manufacture marijuana products. But the shop still needs one more necessary license from the state. 

The Homer City Council did not object last month to 420 on Main’s application for a manufacturing license from the Marijuana Control Board.

However, council member Shelly Erickson asked the council to reconsider that decision during Monday’s meeting, though the council reaffirmed its choice.  

Photo Courtesy of City of Homer

This week Homer Mayor Ken Castner presided over his first Homer City Council meeting, and for the first time in about a decade, former Mayor Bryan Zak is no longer involved in local government. KBBI’s Aaron Bolton caught up with Zak last week to talk about his time on the Homer Planning and Zoning Advisory Commission, his seven years as a Homer City Council member and his potential return to local government.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

Homer Mayor Ken Castner’s first official Homer City Council meeting started off on a tense note this week. Castner clashed with council members on rules guiding the council’s authority while acting in his stead and the future of mayoral proclamations. 

Council member Donna Aderhold proposed a measure Monday to clarify the role of the mayor pro tem. It’s the role of the council member who serves as acting mayor while the mayor is away.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The Homer City Council is requesting that Gov. Bill Walker declare the 2018 upper Cook Inlet sockeye salmon fishery an economic disaster. Council members passed a resolution Monday asking Walker to make the declaration.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the total 2018 harvest of all salmon in upper Cook Inlet was valued at $11 million, nearly 70 percent below the 10-year average. The total commercial sockeye harvest in upper Cook Inlet came in at 815,000 fish, which was also down roughly 70 percent from the 10-year average.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The budgeting process is once again underway in Homer. City Manger Katie Koester introduced a draft budget to the Homer City Council Monday night. The new budget includes a nearly two percent increase in operating costs compared to 2018. Employee healthcare and electricity costs make up most of that increase.

For the past few years, the city has diverted the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails program, better known as the HART fund, to prevent to a $1.2 million budget gap. The fund is designated for road and trail construction.

Homer City Council revisits plastic bag ban

Sep 25, 2018
Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council is contemplating a ban on thin single-use plastic bags. The move would follow other communities that have passed similar ordinances. But this isn’t the first time the council has dabbled with the issue, setting up yet another contentious debate over the role of city government in Homer.

The bag ban that was introduced Monday is largely the same ordinance city council members passed back in 2012.

KBBI News

Click on the audio file below to hear the  Homer City Council & Mayoral Candidates Forum sponsored by The Homer Chamberof Commerce, recorded at Alices's Champagne Palace in Homer on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Parks, Art, Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission will have a chance to revise its proposal for safer access to Karen Hornaday Park. The Homer City Council deferred an ordinance Monday that would have allocated funding for safety improvements such as speed bumps and speed limit signs on the road leading into the park.  The council also sent the measure back to the commission.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council voted down an ordinance Monday that would have required the city manager to take inflationary pressures on the budget and the cost of living for employees into account during the budgeting process. 

The ordinance would have required the city manager to present the council with an overview of the Anchorage Consumer Price Index from the previous year, the only city in the state where inflation is tracked. The city manager would also be required to track cost-of-living raises given to city employees in three nearby communities.

City of Homer

Several elected officials’ terms in Homer are expiring this fall. Two spots on the Homer City Council will be up for grabs in October. Homer Mayor Bryan Zak’s seat will also be open this election cycle.

Candidates intending to run will be able to file with the city clerk’s office Wednesday.

Council members Donna Aderhold and Heath Smith are both finishing three years on the council. Smith says he is undecided whether he will run again. Aderhold declined to say whether she plans to run for re-election.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council updated the city’s leasing policy for public lands Monday. It hopes to streamline the process and give the council more say in approving leases.

Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins was involved in reviewing the policies, and he said the city council will be more involved in the process under the new code.

They would give the city manager direction to negotiate and sign a lease," he said. "In the code, we've changed that so that the city manager will negotiate and then bring the final document to city council for signing."

QUINTON CHANDLER/KBBI

Earlier this year, the Homer City Council voted in favor of allowing workers to live in recreational vehicles on the Homer Spit, but on Monday, the council approved a new regulation that would subject those vehicles to a permitting process and a yearly fee.

The council has not yet decided on a fee structure. The Homer Advisory Planning Commission held a public hearing in April to discuss the fee and suggests at least $100 per year. 

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