Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai council approves funds for small-scale purchases

Purchases include bulletproof vests, bike helmets and library materials.

Bulletproof vests, helmets for kids and donations to the animal shelter were among the small-scale financial decisions made by the Kenai City Council during their Wednesday night meeting.

Roughly $3,000 in ballistic bulletproof vests ordered by the Kenai Police Department will be covered by two separate grant programs. The first is offered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Ballistic Vest Partnership, which offers grants for half of the vest costs. The second is offered by the city’s insurance carrier, Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association, and will cover the other half.

The Kenai Community Library received a $500 grant via the Derek Kaufman Fund, a Hilcorp donor advised fund of the Alaska Community Foundation, which Library Director Katja Wolfe said in a memo to the council will be used to purchase library materials.

More than $1,000 in unsolicited private donations were made to the Kenai Animal Shelter, which Kenai Police Chief David Ross wrote in a memo to the council will be used to improve animal care at the facility. Improvements identified by Animal Control Chief JJ Hendrickson include the addition of a digital display of animals in the shelter lobby as well as the ability to share that display at other city facilities.

The council also voted to move funds around in the city’s Personal Use Fishery Fund to buy Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) with enclosures, to be placed at the Kenai City Dock, Kenai North Beach and Kenai South Beach during the dipnet season. The AEDs would be made available for use in other city facilities when not in use during the dipnet season.

Kenai Fire Chief Tony Prior wrote in a memo to the council that the city “routinely” has at least one person go into cardiac arrest on beaches every year and that the Fire Department has identified public access to AEDs as a desired safety improvement during the season.

“Early defibrillation and CPR are key to the survival of patients who experience sudden cardiac arrest, and who are in a shockable rhythm,” Prior wrote.

The proposal in all is expected to cost just over $10,000, which includes the cost of the machines and the secure cabinets as well as the service contract.

The city council also voted unanimously to donate up to $500 to Mountain View Elementary School’s annual Bike Rodeo event, which aims to teach children about bike safety through activities and makes helmets available for purchase for $5. The $500 will be used to purchase helmets for 100 students.

Council member Henry Knackstedt voiced his hesitancy to support a blanket donation of $500 without requirements for receipt invoicing. The legislation was amended to require Mountain View Elementary School provide receipt for helmet purchases and to say that any funds not used for the purchase of helmets returns to the City of Kenai.

Wednesday’s city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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