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 to consider extension of disaster declaration

If approved, the declaration would be extended to Feb. 28

The Kenai City Council will vote during their Wednesday night meeting on whether or not to extend the city’s COVID-19 Disaster Emergency Declaration, which is set to expire on Jan. 31. The declaration was previously extended on Dec. 16.

The legislation considered by the council during their Dec. 16 meeting would have extended the declaration until March 31, however, council member Jim Glendening proposed amending the date to Jan. 31, which he said would let the council evaluate the extension after doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered and after the original deadline to spend federal CARES Act dollars.

The legislation the council will consider on Wednesday would extend the declaration to Feb. 28, or until it is repealed sooner.

As of Jan. 14, 55,342 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Alaska. 11,743 Alaskans have received both doses of the vaccine.

Extending the declaration means that the city’s moratorium on penalty and interest for water and sewer accounts, as well as water and sewer disconnection for non-payments would also be extended. Additionally, the extension would give City Manager Paul Ostrander more flexibility in how the city is able to respond to the pandemic, such as taking emergency actions that may be necessary “to protect critical functions of the city.”

“As Administration looks toward the recovery aspect of this public health emergency, we look forward to taking actions to resume regular operations and services and support the restoration of businesses and the community while balancing the need to return to normalcy with the health and safety of City employees and the public,” wrote Ostrander in a Jan. 12 memo to the council.

Kenai City Council meetings can be viewed live on the city’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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