Mud and debris is washed up at Bear Creek near East End Road on Monday afternoon, Dec. 9, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Bear Creek crosses East End Road near Bear Creek Drive and overflowed the creek banks. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Mud and debris is washed up at Bear Creek near East End Road on Monday afternoon, Dec. 9, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Bear Creek crosses East End Road near Bear Creek Drive and overflowed the creek banks. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Borough to hold special meeting to consider funding for winter storm damage

Storms caused power outages, late-starts for schools, landslides and flooding in some areas.

The borough is considering how they’ll pay for damages from a series of winter storms that came through the Kenai Peninsula early this week causing power outages, late-starts for the school district, landslides and flooding in some areas.

A special Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, taking place at 3 p.m. on Friday, will look at both extending the emergency disaster declaration the borough enacted last Friday and appropriating funds in response to damages caused by the recent winter storms.

Emergency disaster declarations are valid for seven days unless they are extended. The assembly will look at a resolution extending that declaration for 30 more days to allow for a more complete response, according to the resolution.

The declaration calls upon the state for assistance, as the borough has expended significant resources in response to the storm damage, the resolution said.

The state is currently processing the borough’s request for assistance, Thursday’s Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Situation Report said. The state Department of Transportation is also in the process of compiling response and repair costs to several roads on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the situation report.

While the state processes requests for assistance, the assembly will consider an emergency ordinance appropriating $280,000, which would enable the borough to immediately repair the damage to public infrastructure associated with storm-caused flooding and debris.

The disaster declaration was enacted by Mayor Charlie Pierce Dec. 6, the same day the city of Seldovia issued their own declaration after winter storms caused widespread damage and power outages, impacting backup power generators. The declaration also highlighted the imminent threat of weather that came early this week when winter storms flooded roads and caused landslides in some areas of the southern peninsula.

Ditches and culverts in the Anchor Point and Homer area have also been under repair by the Department of Transportation after nearby streams and rivers were flooded early this week by a downpour of rain and snowmelt. The Department of Transportation is continuing repairs on the Seward Highway, along the Turnagain Arm, where rock slides have intermittently closed the road and impacted traffic.

Emergency ordinances require a three-fourths vote of the assembly.

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