The Homer City Council adopted the newest six-year capital improvement plan during their last regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 11. The plan also establishes capital project legislative priorities for fiscal year 2025.
According to the city manager’s office webpage on the City of Homer official website, the plan is updated annually “to ensure the long-range capital improvement planning stays current, as well as to determine annual legislative priorities and assist with budget development.”
Project descriptions included in the plan also cover cost and schedule information, and project priority is designated as Level 1, 2, or 3, with Level 1 being the highest priority.
The plan also includes, in separate sections, information on projects to be undertaken by the State of Alaska and other non-city organizations.
Through the adoption of Resolution 23-093 at the Sept. 11 meeting, city council prioritized eight projects for legislative requests in FY25.
In order, these are:
Homer Harbor Expansion
Multi-Use Community Center
Slope Stability and Erosion Mitigation Program
Homer Harbor Critical Float System Replacement: Float Systems 4 and 1
Karen Hornaday Park Public Restroom
A-Frame Water Transmission Line Replacement
Homer Spit Erosion Mitigation
New Public Works Facility
Council member Caroline Venuti raised the question of whether the Homer harbor expansion should remain as the city’s number one legislative priority, in light of the revelations regarding project funding and timeline presented to the council at the special work session earlier that evening.
During the presentation by HDR Engineering representative Ron McPherson, the council learned that federal matching funds for the project were not secured and are no longer guaranteed. At best, this delays the harbor expansion project.
“I think we should, because as the saying goes, the fat lady hasn’t sang yet. I think we need to keep it up at the top just to see how this plays out,” council member Shelly Erickson said. “I think we all know how it could easily play out. But we need to keep ourselves in position to get whatever we can.”
The council made several amendments to the draft capital improvement plan during the meeting, adding or relocating project items.
The Fairview Avenue extension from Main Street to West Hill Road was removed from the Long-Range Project section. Improvements to the Homer wastewater treatment plant were included in the Mid-Range Project section. Also added to the mid-range projects were the engineering study for the Homer Public Library remodel, as well as the Homer Public Library siding replacement and sliding security gate projects.
Council member Donna Aderhold moved to add the HERC hazardous material cleanup and revitalization plan to the Mid-Range Projects section, prompting some discussion among the council.
Mayor Ken Castner expressed concern about committing to that path at this time.
“We know we’re going to have to do something,” Aderhold said. “Having this in our CIP is important to understand that we need to do something on this project, otherwise it’s going to just sit there for a long time.”
Venuti pointed out that including the HERC in the capital improvement plan doesn’t necessarily mean tackling the project in the next year, but the inclusion indicates that the city intends to approach the project at some point, which may potentially be beneficial to the city in future funding applications.
Also added to the Mid-Range Projects section were the Rogers Loop Trailhead parking lot and the city’s Drainage Management Plan.
Several projects were added by council to the section of the capital improvement plan that details projects undertaken by other organizations and the State of Alaska, including the Rogers Loop Trailhead storage shed project, Diamond Creek Recreation Area trails, and a project regarding the traffic control at the corner of Sterling Highway and Soundview Avenue.
Each project listed in the plan document has been evaluated for consistency with the city’s goals as outlined in the current comprehensive plan.
While the capital improvement plan is a product of the city council, according to the resolution, input was received from all city advisory boards, commissions and the public.
Resolution 23-093 is available in full, along with supporting materials, at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/citycouncil/city-council-regular-meeting-300.
The draft 2024-2029 capital improvement plan is available online at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/resolution/resolution-23-093-adopting-2024-2029-captial-improvement-plan-and-fy25-legislative.