The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s disaster declaration in response to COVID-19 was extended until March 31, 2021 following a unanimous vote in favor by the borough assembly during a special meeting on Tuesday.
Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce first issued the Disaster Emergency Declaration on March 16. The assembly extended it on March 17, on June 2 and on Sept. 1. The Sept. 1 extension was set to expire on Dec. 30.
According to a memo from Emergency Manager Dan Nelson, with the borough’s Office of Emergency Management, to the assembly, the borough is incurring “significant expenses” due to circumstances related to COVID-19. Once CARES funding expires on Dec. 30, the memo says, the borough may look to other funding sources, such as FEMA reimbursement, which requires a disaster declaration to be in effect when the claimed costs are incurred.
“Because of the high costs still being incurred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the administration is requesting an extension to the disaster declaration for another three months to ensure that all avenues of reimbursement and assistance are available to the borough, reducing the burden on local taxpayers,” the memo reads.
During the Tuesday meeting, Pierce’s chief of staff, James Baisden, clarified that the declaration was not being extended in response to COVID-19 case numbers on the peninsula or so that the borough can issue any mandates.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.