City news: What’s coming up at Homer Council Monday

• City council meets 5 p.m. for a workshop on Main Street – regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers at Homer City Hall
In the works is a $3 million loan to the City of Homer from the Kenai Peninsula Borough for helping to pay for Homer Area Natural Gas distribution lines to homes. Mayor Mike Navarre and Assemblyman Bill Smith introduced an ordinance at the last borough meeting that proposed the loan, which goes up for a vote at the Feb. 5 borough meeting. In the same ordinance, Kachemak City would borrow $300,000 for the same purposes for its residents. The measure would need to be passed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.
Homer City Manager Walt Wrede told the Homer City Council this week in a memo that a loan agreement is in the draft stage. This lower interest loan is a better deal, available through the borough, rather than more expensive private lenders. In case that plan falls through, City Finance Director Regina Mauras is researching private lenders.
The money would help the city finance construction of the distribution system to homes.
Ordinance 13-01: Another gasline measure: This one will, if passed, grant the city the ability to give deferrals to low income property owners. That means qualified individuals would not have to pay a special assessment of $3,200 for 10 years. But when the property is sold, the entire $3,200 would become due by the new owners. That comes up for a second hearing Jan. 28.
This meeting is also a chance to speak your mind about concerns on the plan for creating a Homer Special Assessment District, called HSAD or SAD.

Sales tax is back
The council is also considering a measure that would restore winter sales tax on groceries. Ordinance 12-53 was originally proposed by Councilman Bryan Zak to raise more than $700,000 in sales tax revenue that could be used for city services and non profits. But it was narrowly voted down in December at the last council meeting of the year by one vote. Councilman James Dolma, whose ‘no’ vote made for the deciding factor, asked for a reconsideration.
If council members vote ‘yes’ to reconsider the matter, the matter again will be put to a vote. If it passes, the city could immediately begin collecting the sales tax. This would raise taxes from 3 cents on the dollar to 7.5 cents on the dollar whenever food is purchased.

Want Main Street fixed?

At a work session beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, the council will take up a discussion on how to proceed with the intersection deemed the most dangerous in town at Sterling Highway and Main Street. Since the Alaska Department of Transportation owns and maintains both roadways, it’s not the City of Homer’s responsibility to find a solution. But the problem is that given the long process ahead from conception to design, Homer could be sitting at the red light four years when it comes to waiting for a traffic signal. Also among the needs is a safe trail for pedestrians who frequently walk up Main Street to downtown.
Up for discussion is what to do in the meantime?
The city has $2 million to add to the DOT’s budget for either building a round about or a three-way traffic light or a blinking light.
Homer Police Chief Mark Robl pulled the vehicle accident statistics going back eight years at Main and Sterling. The intersection has averaged at least one serious accident with injuries each year. “That may not sound alarming, but compared to other intersections, it is the most dangerous in town,” Robl told the Homer Tribune. “We’ve watched it and we see a lot of close calls.”
What do you think should be the solution?

Jo Johnson for City Manager

Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson

Each year, the Homer City Manager designates a city official to stand in for him as acting city manager. This year, Walt Wrede is designating Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson acting city manager. The council is being asked to approve this in a resolution before them Monday night.

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Posted by on Jan 11th, 2013 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “City news: What’s coming up at Homer Council Monday”

  1. excellent news says:

    Sales tax voted down.

    They will put it to vote what services we would like to cut.

    WE would like to see an entire accounting of city funds, including the reserve depreciation accounts and an accounting of all city funds spent before we can make an educated decision.

    The city has had quite a bit of extra funding this year, so we need to know what they did with it and why they are asking for more from the public.

    It was brought up at the meeting that city employees have the cadillac of health care plans and that there has already been a proposal to reduce health care cost by $150,000 that the city council did not bother to look at. There are plenty of other ways to reduce spending, so given the details, we can all make suggestiongs and be part of the process.

    Many people spoke against the gasline expenses, being forced by the city against their will to pay huge costs that they cannot afford. It is not that people are against gas necessarily, but the way the city is doing it. It was mentioned that if we put this much effort and expense into alternative energy, we will protect ourselves from the rising costs of natural gas we can all see coming (with the false scarcity lies about running out when actually trying to drive the cost to double what it is. They are getting use to the profits they are making in Asia, and want that in Alaska as well)

    Buccaneer was also brought up at the meeting. We need to know how much Buccaneer owes at this point, and what they city is doing to make sure they pay. They do not have a good history of paying their bills. We need to stop pretending that rig is in any shape to drill anywhere, and figure out what we are going to do about it.

    All in all, it was good news and a good conversation.
    Keep Speaking up Homerites! For the Win!

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