Homer City Council

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council is poised to create a task force to explore the cost of updating the Homer Education and Recreation Complex, or the HERC, for future use. But it postponed its decision on the matter Monday.

The HERC was previously evaluated as a potential site for a new police station, but that idea was scraped over concerns about hazardous material in the building. The gym is currently the only portion of the HERC the community uses.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council is reinstating regular work sessions on state legislative issues. Every other week on Tuesdays at 4 p.m., City Council members will report on issues in the state Legislature that relate to the city and will discuss following up with formal action on the council agenda.

The council held work sessions last year and the idea came up again after members of the council visited Juneau last month. In her monthly report, City Manager Katie Koester said it will be a way for the council to track issues and provide timely input on legislative issues in the state.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

Two resolutions aimed at revisiting water and sewer rates were removed from the Homer City Council’s agenda Monday. Both resolutions said that commercial users were impacted negatively after the city moved to a uniform rate for both residential and commercial users in 2013 and it called for a task force to look into the issue.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council took an in-depth look at a preliminary design for a new police station Monday. The design plan calls for constructing a new facility at the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue. The $6 million building would be a vast improvement over the Homer Police Department’s current facility, but the plan does come with some drawbacks due to financial constraints.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council made some adjustments to the 2018 draft budget Monday.

The council approved .5-percent cost of living adjustment for city employees. The Employee Committee initially asked the council for a 1-percent raise, but council member Heath Smith expressed concern over the $90,000 move.

He said it would eliminate a portion of future savings the city gained after voters approved using a road-and-trail-construction fund to pay for road maintenance this fall, which will go into effect in 2019.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council got its first look at preliminary design plans for a new police station Monday. The council contracted Stantec to design a rough $6 million layout in August, but the design firm came back with both an $8 million and $6 million option.

A task force recommended building a $6 million or $9 million dollar building at the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue earlier this summer, but the council has focused on the cheaper option due to concerns over the cost of maintaining a larger building.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council introduced an ordinance Monday that would settle a four-year land dispute between Homer and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office. The Trust Land Office  claims Mental Health owns land at the mouth of Homer’s harbor. If the ordinance is approved, the city would pay about $550,000 for the disputed land.

The disagreement dates back to 2013 when the city requested an easement through a lot on the Homer Spit that the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Mental Health both own.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A recommendation to open the Homer Spit to the commercial marijuana industry passed through the Port & Harbor Advisory Commission Wednesday.

The Cannabis Advisory Committee pushed the recommendation to the harbor commission and the Advisory Planning Commission back in August, but the Homer City Council will have the final say on the matter.

Shady Grove Oliver, KBBI News

The Homer City Council’s longest sitting member sat through his last meeting on Monday. Council member David Lewis played a role in many major decisions during his three terms and after nine years on the panel, and he says it’s time to leave, a decision he announced earlier this year. KBBI’s Aaron Bolton spoke with Lewis Tuesday about his time in local government, from what issues lie before the new city council to surviving a contentious recall election. 

KBBI News

Homer City Council candidates met at Kachemak Bay Campus to answer questions from the public and from reporters representing KBBI and Homer News.
The forum was broadcast live and recorded on September 21, 2017. Candidates participating: Kim Ketter, Andy Kita, Rachel Lord, Dwane Nustvold, Sarah Vance and Caroline Venuti. Candidate Stephen Meuller was unable to attend. The KBBI Candidates Forum will be rebroadcast on AM 890 on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 10 a.m. Stream it here at kbbi.org.

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