Council to update city’s priority list

The Homer City Council reviewed the city’s 2015-2020 Capital Improvement Plan, CIP, at the council’s work session on Monday. The next step is for the public to weigh in at a public hearing at the council’s Sept. 8 regular meeting.

“Last year we went through a fairly exhaustive process on how to do the CIP list,” said Mayor Beth Wythe. “The top five are the top five until they’re complete and then they have to be replaced with something else.”

The objective of that approach is to have a cohesive, strategic plan when presenting the list to the Legislature. 

Topping the legislative request for fiscal year 2015 are:

Storage water/distribution improvements

The project includes design and improvements to increase water storage; improve water system distribution, drinking water quality and public health; and increased effectiveness of the treatment plant and water transmission. The total project cost is $3.9 million. 

In 2012, the city received a $390,000 special appropriation project grant for the design phase, with the design to be completed this year. The remaining $3,510,000 is for construction. 

Katie Koester, the city’s community and economic development coordinator, explained this item was placed at the top of the list in order for it to be scored well with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The city’s public works director has submitted the application to the state and anticipates an update from the state in September, according to Koester.

• Public safety building

Part of the city’s CIP for more than 10 years, new fire and police stations are being explored by the Public Safety Building Review Committee. (See related story, page 1.)

“A lot of work has been done by the committee,” said Koester. “This project description is updated as decisions and progress are made by the committee. It’s a high priority.”

• Harbor sheet pile loading dock

For a total cost of $1,450,000, this project will construct a sheet pile loading pier between the existing barge ramp and the fuel dock on the east side of the Homer Small Boat Harbor. The dock’s length will be approximately 225 feet long and will be used to transfer heavy loads by crane onto barges and landing craft.

During the council’s regular meeting Monday, it approved Ordinance 14-44(s), accepting a state legislative grant of $350,000 to be used toward the cost of the dock. 

• Fire department 

equipment upgrades

 Three vehicle upgrades have been identified by the Homer Volunteer Fire Department as needed for the department to safely and efficiently protect the lives and property of Homer’s residents: a ladder truck for $800,000, a brush-wildland firefighting truck for $120,000 and a harbor fire cart replacement for $205,000.

“The first two pieces were funded in the capital budget,” said Koester of progress already made on completing this item.  “The next project is the fire cart replacement.” 

• East to west 

transportation corridor

This project would extend Bartlett Street and put a road through the town center. It also would acquire and upgrade Waddell Way, linking Heath Street and Lake Street. 

“The Legislature granted $1.4 million last year,” said Koester of funding received for the Waddell Way upgrade portion.

While those are the top legislative priorities, also part of the 2015-2020 CIP are:

• Mid-range projects for local roads, parks and recreation, port and harbor and public safety;

• State projects supported by and benefiting the city that include projects within the city, outside the city and one non-transportation project, an Alaska Maritime Academy;

• Projects submitted by other organizations, including the Pratt Museum, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, Homer Senior Citizens, South Peninsula Hospital and Kachemak Shellfish Growers Association; and

• Long-range projects that include local roads, parks and recreation, public facilities, utilities and state projects. 

A public hearing on the CIP will be held at the council’s Sept. 8 meeting.

“Come to our next city council meeting and give us your input on the CIP list,” said council member Bryan Zak, directing his comments to the public.

A copy of the list can be found on the web at

During its regular meeting on Monday, the council passed:

• Ordinance 14-40, appropriating $10,000 for a new thermal imaging camera;

• Ordinance 14-41, bringing city code into compliance with Kenai Peninsula Borough code with regard to the duties of the Homer Advisory Planning Commission; 

• Ordinance 14-42(S), accepting $1,430,000 from the state of Alaska for Waddell Way Road improvements;

• Ordinance 14-43, accepting $350,000 for fire department equipment upgrades; 

• Ordinance 14-44 (S), accepting $350,000 from the state for the harbor sheet pile loading dock.  

“There are lots of things we can accommodate with this improvement,” said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. “It’s a good investment.”

During City Manager Walt Wrede’s report, Hawkins was asked to provide details regarding the construction to take place in the harbor during the month of September (see related story, page 1). 

Action by the council on Resolution 14-088, amending the city’s sewer fee schedule to provide for metered sewer-only customers was postponed until Kachemak City Council can review the schedule. 

The next meeting of the Homer City Council is Sept. 8. The Committee of the Whole meets at 5 p.m. and the regular meeting begins at 6 p.m.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at


City of Homer’s top five legislative priorities:

1. Water storage/distribution improvements;

2. Public safety building;

3. Harbor sheet pile loading dock;

4. Fire department equipment upgrades;

5. East to west transportation corridor.

A public hearing on these and other city priorities will be held  at the next regular meeting of the Homer City Council, 6 p.m. Sept. 8.