Borough looks to tap rescue funds for projects

About $3.4 million of American Rescue Plan Act was allocated for “pay-go” infrastructure projects.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough would use some funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act for capital projects under legislation that will be up for a public hearing on Dec. 7.

Of the roughly $11.4 million the borough received through ARPA, about $3.4 million was allocated for “pay-go” infrastructure projects.

The proposed projects include $2.2 million for the Homer High School Roof Replacement, $700,000 for the construction of a new exterior side on a portion of West Homer Elementary and $500,000 to fund “critical bridge infrastructure” in the borough. Kenai Peninsula Borough Finance Director Brandi Harbaugh said Monday that the borough has a list of potential bridge projects toward which funds could be put.

The legislation would also move $1.8 million from the borough’s general fund balance for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Homer High School Roof Replacement Project. The assembly approved $180,000 earlier this year for design work for the project. Kenai Peninsula Borough Purchasing and Contracting Director John Hedges and Harbaugh wrote in a Feb. 4 memo to the assembly accompanying that legislation that Homer High School’s entire roof system needs to be replaced.

The project was also included in a list of about $30 million worth of critical infrastructure projects identified by the school district in 2020 for a bond consideration. That project listed replacement of the Homer High School roof as an $8.1 million project and was delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

KPBSD Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said Monday that the original cost estimate for the Homer High School roof project was based on an estimate from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. The borough, Erkeneff said, has already completed Phase 1 of the project.

The assembly will consider approval of using ARPA funds for pay-go projects during its Dec. 7 meeting.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at