Story last updated at 2:37 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2002

Assembly moves closer to Anchor Point harbor area
by Hal Spence
Morris News Service-Alaska

Launching a boat from the beach at Anchor Point can be a dangerous activity, especially when the wind picks up. Constructing a harbor would solve that problem and be a boost to a lower Kenai Peninsula community intimately tied to the recreation, tourist and fishing economy, say promoters of an Anchor Point Port and Harbor Service Area.

Signatures on a petition to begin efforts designating a port and harbor area were certified by the borough clerk's office March 11. The service area would include the existing Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area. Its northern boundary would be Happy Valley Creek and its southern border would lie at Mile 165 of the Sterling Highway.

Establishing the service area would allow promoters to partner with the borough government and the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study, estimated to cost about $1 million, Mayor Dale Bagley said in a report to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday.

Setting a nominal tax levy of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed property (0.1 mill) would bring in roughly $12,871 a year from the $173.3 million worth of taxable property in the service area, which includes approximately $4.9 million associated with oil and gas activity in the area. While not much in revenue, the tax dollars would open the doors to various state and federal grants that could help cover the bulk of the feasibility study costs. If that study determined no port or harbor facility is feasible, the service area board would ask the Assembly to dissolve the service area, Bagley said.

A public hearing in Anchor Point has been scheduled for May 8 at 7 p.m. A location has yet to be announced, but likely would be at the Anchor River Inn or Chapman Elementary School.

The petition included 97 valid signatures, 27 percent of the voter turnout in the October 2001 election. Some 2,450 people live in the proposed service area.

In other business, the Assembly authorized award of a contract for the Homer Baling Facility fire detection system project to Air Tek Inc. of Soldotna for $29,469. Air Tek will provide labor, materials and equipment to install a detection system.

They also introduced an ordinance to appropriate supplemental capital funds and authorize purchase of a Class A fire pumper by the Kachemak Emergency Service Area. The matter gets a hearing May 7 in Seward. The ordinance allows a shifting of funds within the service area's approved budget to make up for a gap between the low bid for the pumper and the amount already appropriated for the purpose by the KESA budget. Such shifting of funds requires the Assembly's approval.

Finally, the Assembly approved new district names, calling District 8 the Homer District, and District 9, which includes territory surrounding Homer from Anchor Point to Nanwalek, the South Peninsula District. Other district names include: District 1, Kalifornsky; District 2, Kenai; District 3, Nikiski; District 4, Soldotna; District 5, Sterling/Funny River; District 6, East Peninsula; and District 7, Central. A hearing and final approval of the new district boundaries is scheduled for May 7.

<> Hal Spence is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion