Council looks at using surplus for Skyline Drive fire station

Hearing on Monday that the city took in $400,000 more in revenues than it spent in 2013, the Homer City Council got back to basic services and passed two actions to support the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, including adding funds to build a heated, four-bay fire station on Skyline Drive at the northern edge of city limits.

On the consent agenda, the council moved forward on first reading and introduction an ordinance that would appropriate $15,000 from the fire depreciation reserve account and $83,000 from the general fund for the Skyline Drive station. 

The city already has $500,000 for the project, part of a grant the Alaska Legislature reallocated from an earlier, unused grant for Main Street and Sterling Highway intersection improvements. 

The council also passed an amended ordinance appropriating $10,890 for three new laptop computers for the fire department. The original ordinance would have paid for the ToughBook laptops out of the fire depreciation reserve, now at about $52,000. The amended ordinance takes the money out of the general fund reserve, a “rainy day” account the city keeps on hand that’s about three months of city expenses, an amount suggested by auditors.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting before the regular meeting, City Manager Walt Wrede gave the council some good news: in 2013, the city took in $400,000 more in revenues than it spent. 

In discussing the ordinance to add $98,000 to the Skyline Drive fire station project — essentially, adding one more truck bay — the council looked at if it should dip into the fire depreciation reserve or, as it did with the laptops, take money out of the general fund reserve.

“I won’t object to spending additional money,” said council member Gus VanDyke in supporting the ordinance to add money to the fire station project. “It’s one of those four core purposes I keep harping about, which is public safety.”

The Skyline Drive Fire Station would be unstaffed, but would garage four pieces of fire equipment: a reserve engine, a tanker-pumper truck, an ambulance and a wildland fire brush truck. Based in an area annexed in 2003, the Skyline Drive station would serve those more rural areas. It also would make it a downhill trip for a tanker-pumper, said HVFD Chief Bob Painter. Weighing 57,000 pounds, “That takes a lot of time to get up East Hill,” Painter said of the truck.

The ordinance to add money to the Skyline Drive fire station project goes up for a public hearing and second reading at the March 24 meeting.

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read