A full house took in Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting in Soldotna that debuted an online video stream.
The assembly members were each equipped with iPads for the first time. Assembly President Dale Bagley said use of the iPads should improve efficiency and allow the members to vote on them, although that function didn’t work this time. The technological gadgets are another step to save the time and expense it takes the clerk’s office to copy agenda packets for the assembly, he said.
Bagley said streaming the meetings online is another effort to improve transparency to the public.
Assembly member Wayne Ogle said the live streaming was long overdue and it will be more convenient for people to have that option to tune in from home.
The assembly passed seven ordinances up for public hearing. Among those was the Central Peninsula Hospital acquisition of the urology medical clinic on Binkley Street for $604,000 from the plant replacement and expansion fund. The ordinance was to amend the lease and operating agreement to include the 2,228 square-foot building.
Assembly member Brent Johnson, finance committee chair, said the Jonas Ridge LLC, which owns the urology business, approached the hospital and expressed interest in selling the property. Johnson said he originally had concerns when the hospital hired urologist Robert Cadoff and if that was the reason the private practice went up for sale.
According to a memo from CPH CEO Rick Davis, the urologist who occupied the building, Gary Shoenrock, planned to retire Sept. 30 and the hospital recruited Cadoff to take over Shoenrock’s practice on Oct. 16.
The ordinance passed with a 8-1 vote, with the no vote cast by assembly member Stan Welles. Welles said he felt it was a poor investment given the state budget centered on oil with looming deficits.
“The money should stay in the replacement fund,” he said. “I think we need to prepare for tight budgets.”
Gilman said the purchase is a prudent business decision because it adds to the hospital campus and increases the property value. He said the hospital has created a profitable operation and that the purchase would not cost the borough any additional funds.
An ordinance to authorize a land swap between the borough and Kalifornsky Beach property owners affected by the 2013 flooding in the Kalifornsky Beach area for drainage purposes was postponed to the Jan. 20, 2015 meeting.
An agreement was in place for a land exchange for Paula and Timothy Keohane’s 4.3-acre property on Karluk Avenue for a 1.84-acre parcel at Mile 12.1 on Kalifornsky Beach Road along the Cook Inlet bluff.
Borough Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander said a neighbor, Daniel Sterchi, had concerns that the parcel exchanged to the owners for drainage easement into the inlet would be large enough to handle the water retention the area experienced in the 2013 flooding.
Ostrander said a consultant would inspect the property and see if the original proposal would work. If not administration would look at an alternative exchange with the Keohanes for property where a 300-gallon water catch basin would be constructed to pump out water only during times of emergency, he said.
While the borough installed a temporary drainage pipe under Kalifornsky Beach Road to allow excess water to flow out to the inlet, they are actively looking at a more permanent solution, Ostrander said.
Assembly member Kelly Wolf added a resolution to the consent agenda that acknowledges the assembly’s support of the formation of the Kalifornsky Beach high water drainage task force.
The assembly passed a procedural ordinance to allow certain noncontroversial ordinances scheduled for public hearing to be placed on the consent agenda if not objection is received. Bagley submitted the ordinance. Assembly members Mako Haggerty, Wayne Ogle and Stan Welles voted against the ordinance.
Haggerty said he voted no because what is noncontroversial for him may be controversial for other people. Ogle said he would rather have transparency conducting business in a straightforward manner.
Assembly Vice President Sue McClure said placing noncontroversial issues on consent agenda is “worth a shot” because it could streamline the process.
Bagley said the meetings are sometimes really long with multiple appropriations that nobody comes to testify on. If there is something later in the agenda that people have an interest in, they can devote more time to that particular issue.
The next meeting will be Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna.
Reach Dan Balmer at email@example.com.