Soldotna council passes pandemic aid programs

“This (pandemic) is affecting everyone.”

(Photo courtesy of city of Soldotna)

(Photo courtesy of city of Soldotna)

The city of Soldotna is altering one of its grant programs and offering discounts on city utility services to assist local businesses and residents during the pandemic.

At a special Soldotna City Council meeting Wednesday night, the council passed an ordinance that reduced water and sewer rates by 50% for all Soldotna residential and commercial users for the next two months.

The ordinance, introduced by council member Justin Ruffridge, offers the discount to all Soldotna utility users, not just those users who could prove they were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ruffridge said distributing the discount to every utility user will cut down on the time it will take city administration to parse through eligible applicants for the discount. The council unanimously approved the ordinance.

“This (pandemic) is affecting everyone,” Ruffridge said during the special council meeting.

City administration has also adjusted one of their business development programs to help local businesses. The Soldotna Storefront Improvement Program — which previously issued grants to aid local businesses in improving their storefronts — has been expanded to allow businesses in the city to apply for assistance in developing their online presence. The grant will cover 75% of eligible costs, up to $1,000, for web development, social media marketing programs and other ways of increasing online presence.

John Czarnezki, director of economic development and planning for the city of Soldotna, said the city is just starting to receive applications for the program. He said the program’s review committee plans to look over those applications next week.

The program, now called the Virtual Storefront Improvement Program, is intended to help local shops and restaurants adapt to social distancing mandates that have made it difficult for residents to participate in the local economy.

“It is the goal of this program to expand the visibility of and access to local businesses to increase their sales and customer contacts; and to increase the stability of our local economy and provide a wider marketplace for local goods and services,” the program’s guidelines say.

Grant applications are reviewing on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds run out. Business owners in the city of Soldotna can learn more and apply for the program by reaching out to Czarnezki at 907-714-1246 or emailing jczarnezki@soldotna.org.

More in News

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

The Kenai Courthouse as seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clam Gulch resident convicted of 60 counts for sexual abuse of a minor

The conviction came at the end of a three-week trial at the Kenai Courthouse

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets in Seward, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (screenshot)
Borough awards contract for replacement of Seward High School track

The project is part of a bond package that funds major deferred maintenance projects at 10 borough schools

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, 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 talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Jordan Chilson votes in favor of an ordinance he sponsored seeking equitable access to baby changing tables during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs ordinance seeking to increase access to baby changing tables

The ordinance requires all newly constructed or renovated city-owned and operated facilities to include changing tables installed in both men’s and women’s restrooms

Most Read