Three things to watch for at the next Homer City Council meeting

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to delete incorrect information about a resolution of the city council to approve issuance of general obligation bonds to help build the new police station.

There are several items of public interest being dealt with at Homer City Council’s upcoming meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11, chief among them the question of whether to use city money to help fund a faith-based addiction treatment organization’s efforts to bring a residential treatment facility to Homer.

1) Council members will take public testimony one last time on an ordinance that would allow the city to use $177,172.05 from the Police Station Fund and $7,827.95 from the General Fund to support Set Free Alaska, and the Homer Foundation.

Set Free Alaska, the Mat-Su Valley-based, state-certified treatment program, would receive $175,000 while the Homer Foundation would get $10,000 to give out through its grant program to support ongoing local efforts to fight addiction.

The $177,000 from the Police Station Fund is essentially a re-appropriation of community assistance money Homer got from the state last year.

City staff has explained that the money is no longer needed for the police station.

Council members have expressed concern about whether the city is in fact allowed to use public dollars to help fund a religiously based organization. They will be getting a legal opinion on the issue before Monday’s meeting to guide them.

2) The council also is set to tackle the question of whether to extend city water services to a specific property in Kachemak City and outside city limits.

Ordinance 19-09 would both accept and appropriate $100,000 to extend water to a lot on Puffin Acres at Mile 3 East End Road. This is the site of a future affordable housing complex being built by East End Partners, LLC, which approached the City of Homer about needing water services.

At previous meetings, council members have discussed the fact that city service lines already exist in that area, so it wouldn’t be a matter of actually extending the city water line. It would be a matter of establishing a service connection. East End Partners, LLC proposes building a 24-unit building and will pay the $100,000 needed for service connection.

The council has postponed voting on this ordinance in order to have more time to go over the matter with members of the Kachemak City Council. The Homer council had a work session with the Kachemak City council and mayor about the issue on Tuesday.

The council has been reluctant in the past to extend water service outside of city limits.

3) Also at Monday’s meeting, there will be a resolution up for introduction that would allow the issuance of $5 million in general obligation bonds to pay for “part of the cost of planning, design, and construction of (the) police station and related capital improvements in the city.”

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