Homer may see a new kind of summer festival coming to town. Two Homer residents proposed an idea for a new music and arts event to the city council at its regular meeting. It's called "Soul Fest" and theoretically will be a place for non-profits to come together in festival form.
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Following an extensive executive session to discuss the candidates, the council eliminated Douglas Isaacson from the list. Jeffrey Trinker of Texas remains on the shortlist along with Chris Johnson of Washington state and Carey Meyer of Homer. The City Manager Selection Committee will next meet Wednesday, February 11, at 5:15 pm at City Hall.
Soldotna residents participated in a special election this month to decide whether the city would take its first steps toward a possible home rule transition. The tally resulted in an overwhelming "no" against electing a home rule charter commission. Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson says the result could mean an increase in property taxes for Soldotna residents. He also believes one Nikiski resident may have significantly influenced the vote.
Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson dropped the defeat of a ballot measure that could have sent the city on the path towards home rule at the feet of Nikiski resident James Price. Price is the chairman of Alaskans for Grocery Tax Relief Now. Price believes home rule would have allowed Soldotna's city council to impose higher taxes on residents and reduce public participation in government decisions.
It seems the Alaska State Ferry trips from Kodiak and Southcentral before the legislative session are forcing canneries to leave a lot of fish sitting in refrigerated vans for extended periods. House District 32 Representative Louise Stutes hopes to help solve the problem.
The City of Homer released its adopted budget in January. The budget for fiscal year 2015 stretches each dollar of revenue as far as possible. There is no surplus to speak of. This year’s budget basically ensures the city’s daily operations can continue uninterrupted. Recently City of Homer Finance Director John Li and KBBI's Quinton Chandler discussed the status of the city's finances.
The Walker administration has brought back two more transportation officials who left their posts during the Parnell administration. Department of Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken yesterday named Mike Neussl as deputy commissioner. He served in the same post in 2011 and 2012. Department spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says he will oversee the ferry system, as he did before. Ferry system General Manager John Falvey will remain in his post.
Since December, a few intrepid Cook Inlet fishermen have been trying something new. They’ve been fishing for pollock in state waters using seine gear. It’s an experiment to determine the viability of establishing a future fishery in the area. KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver spent a day aboard the Sea Prince to see how the experiment is working so far.