By Hannah Heimbuch
Public Works Inspector Dan Nelson presented his department’s findings regarding a potential water-sewer loop during a Homer City Council work session Monday afternoon, finding that it is not a good option for the city at this time.
The projected loop would extend up West Hill, across Skyline Drive and back down East Hill. The report was developed in response to a January council resolution that asked the city manager and staff to explore options for expansion — including the loop and alternatives.
In short, Nelson said, portions of the proposed loop, along Skyline Drive in particular, don’t offer water pressure conditions that would allow the system to function effectively.
“The pressure zones along that area are so low,” Nelson said, “it wouldn’t be very feasible based on what we found in our results.”
Because of that determination, the report focused on projects that could expand the sewer and water system based on in-filling existing infrastructure, remedying certain sanitation and environmental concerns, and increasing the Public Works customer base.
The draft report detailed six separate projects, totaling $17.6 million. Those expansion areas include work in the Lillian Walli Subdivision east of West Hill Road; the South Slope/Shellfish area above Homer High School; the Saltwater Drive/Sterling Highway area that spans both sides of the highway on the west end of town; a large area along West Hill, Jeffery Avenue and Whispering Meadows that extends an existing transmission main on Whispering Meadows; an upper East Hill Road area extending along Fireweed Avenue; and a Thompson Drive/Mission Road area that connects into a main from East End Road.
The projects would extend water and sewer services into areas that are already close to existing services.
Councilman Bryan Zak was concerned that taking on more than $17 million in expansion costs may not be justified at this point. Councilman Beau Burgess, however, advocated for the investment, saying that kind of infrastructure is one of the best ways to ensure Homer’s growth.
In other council business
—During a special meeting, the full city council, Mayor Beth Wythe, and city attorney Tom Klinkner left council chambers to hold an executive session regarding an ethics complaint, numbered 2014-01.
—The council voted in favor — with Gus Van Dyke voting no — on Ordinance 14-09(A). The ordinance amends the Homer City Code to include an additional detached dwelling to the uses and structures allowed on a lot holding a single-family dwelling and serviced by city sewer and water. This ordinance also applies to lots that are over one acre and not serviced by city sewer and water.
—Mayor Wythe and council members recognized both of Homer’s state champion hockey teams — the Glacier Kings Pee Wee Team and the Glacier Kings Squirt C Team.
—Council postponed discussion of a resolution that would eliminate public members of the lease committee, returning it to an administrative committee, until the April 28 council meeting. The resolution states that in an effort to reduce expenditures and overlap in responsibilities, administration has determined that the duties of the current lease committee can be adequately carried out by existing commissions.
—Council passed a resolution awarding $51,466 to Kendall Ford of Wasilla for two Public Works vehicles.
—Council postponed discussion of an ordinance that establishes a limitation period for filing a complaint regarding City Ethics Code violations. Before postponing the discussion until the April 28 meeting, adjusted ordinance language was substituted for the original. That substitution changed the language of the ordinance from “establishing a five-year time limitation for filing a complaint,” to “establishing a limitation period for filing a complaint of a violation of the city ethics code of five years OR one year after discovery of the violation.”
—Council approved an ordinance repealing an election recount section of Homer City Code — deemed unnecessarily vague following a recount request following the October 2013 election. The ordinance further enacted an election recount policy that outlines specific protocol and requirements for a recount, rather than the prior policy, which was to refer to the Alaska Statutes for State elections for procedural details.
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