Borough lists capital project priorities

Flood mitigation and renovations to the emergency dispatch building are the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s top priorities for state funding requests this year.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved a list of capital priorities to recommend to the Legislature for funding at the Tuesday meeting, and the top two were identified as renovations to the 911 dispatch operations center in Soldotna and Bear Creek flood mitigation. A number of other projects were included as lower priorities.

The Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center, as the dispatch center is formally called, needs to replace emergency communications system consoles and flooring. Some of the workstation consoles were installed in 2006, when the dispatch center was built, and are now obsolete.

The center also needs to reconfigure its floor space, allowing for new consoles and two additional workspace positions for more staff. Altogether, the project is estimated to cost $350,500, according to the state funding priorities documents.

The Bear Creek flood mitigation would help alleviate some of the flooding in Seward. The issue is attributed to gravel deposited in Bear Creek as the glaciers continue to recede, and is only likely to get worse, according to the priorities document.

The borough is requesting $1 million as ongoing support for the flood mitigation in Bear Creek, where the Bear Creek Flood Service Area has been established and is working with the City of Seward for more long-term solutions. One option being explored is a levee at the top of Salmon Creek to protect the Bear Lake subdivision. Another is acquiring land for additional drainage to protect the Seward Townsite subdivision.

Projects on Tier 2 of the list include the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning controls in the George A. Navarre Borough and School District administration building, estimated to cost about $6.7 million, and continuing wildfire mitigation in the borough, for which the borough is requesting $1 million. However, it is likely that state budget concerns will get in the way of funding for capital projects both within the Kenai Peninsula Borough and elsewhere, wrote borough mayor Mike Navarre in a memo to Kenai Peninsula Borough legislators.

“Although we understand that the capital budget will be limited, we will continue to provide the legislature with our list of capital priorities,” Navarre wrote in the memo. “While we expect few of them will be funded this year; by including our capital priority list we are assuring that, when State funding for municipal capital needs becomes available, our priorities will be well established.”

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