The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

COVID-19 prominent in Tuesday assembly action

Kenai, Soldotna and Homer reiterated their recommendations that residents follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 was a central theme among legislation debated by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly during Tuesday’s meeting, the last before the Oct. 6 municipal election.

The cities of Kenai, Soldotna and Homer are formally reiterating their recommendations that residents follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 with what Assembly President Kelly Cooper called a “combined voice” heading into the rest of the year.

The joint resolution strongly encourages communities to practice COVID-19 mitigation measures recommended by the CDC that have been shown to reduce its spread, including wearing masks in public settings, frequent hand-washing and social distancing.

District 3 Assembly Member Jesse Bjorkman was vocal in his opposition to the resolution. Though Bjorkman acknowledged that the resolution may not result in any tangible changes to how the borough is addressing COVID-19, he said people should assess risks for themselves without government entities suggesting what they should or should not do.

“When governments make suggestions … other organizations follow that guidance and then take opportunities away from people,” Bjorkman said, adding that he would vote in opposition.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, who is sponsoring the legislation, said the CDC recommendations are reasonable requests that help flatten the curve, and that the resolution disperses those recommendations without the issuance of mandates, which he does not support.

“I believe that Alaskans are essential and I believe we’re responsible individuals and that we can be given good information, good safeguards, reasonable safeguards, and we can choose to follow them or not follow them,” Pierce said.

The resolution passed by a vote of 7-1 with Bjorkman voting in opposition.

The assembly also voted against resuming in-person assembly meetings until next year. Resolution 2020-068 would have allowed in-person assembly meetings to resume in accordance with CDC guidelines, acknowledging that the Kenai Peninsula School Borough District recently held an in-person meeting.

In addition to current renovations being made to the assembly chamber, some members said shifting back to in-person meetings would require a lot of extra administrative work for borough staff that would otherwise be avoided by hosting meetings remotely.

“I’m all for it, but I sure am not very much in favor of going to a lot of work for borough staff when we’re functioning pretty doggone well right here and it’s all for two meetings,” District 7 Member Brent Johnson said.

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read