Story last updated at 2:55 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2002

Police position, harbor reshuffling still up in air
Chris Bernard
Happenings in Seldovia

The Seldovia City Council did not have a quorum for the second straight week at last Wednesday's scheduled meeting, postponing discussion about the town's second police officer position and the reshuffling of the harbor department among other agenda items. A budget work session, for which no quorum was required, was held instead.

An emergency meeting was called for the following day. City Council member Susan Springer, who was out of town, phoned in to make a quorum, said City Manager Ken Weaver.

The council took action on two pressing agenda items, including filling a vacant council seat. Stephen Lewis was appointed to the council to replace Eric Nordenson and will hold the seat until the next election. Council members also awarded a bid to United Fire Services of Issaquah, Wash., for a new fire truck. The bid was in the amount of $149,999.

"We called an emergency meeting because those were items that needed to be taken care of," Weaver said. "We were going to lose the truck at that price if we didn't act soon."

The rest of the agenda has been postponed until the next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 14.

Though the contentious issues surrounding the police and harbor hires were not resolved, Weaver said he was able to glean a sense of what council members wanted during the work session.

"The police issue is up in the air, but I think I sense enough of a shift in how the council would vote that I'm going to ask the city finance director to start crunching some numbers," he said. "We're going to see if we can work it so that we can do something different. I think we might be able to make the harbor position full time in the summer, part time in the winter, and take the police position and do the same thing with that for the second officer.

"Again, I don't know if that's at all possible with the budget," Weaver said, adding that the council had not as yet directed him to look into it. "The council would have to vote to approve it."

Weaver said the new fire truck was paid for in part by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

The new fire truck is a commercial Class A pumper with a 1,250 gallon per minute pump and a 1,000 gallon tank, said Seldovia's acting assistant fire chief, Stephen Lewis. "It's got four-wheel drive and a built-in phone system," he said.

"We're replacing our old pumper, which is 30 years old, and we bought that used," he said. "The real advantages of this new truck are the four-wheel drive and the automatic transmission, plus more modern controls and pump output panel. Because of that, it will allow the unit to be operated more easily by a short-handed crew, which by definition is what we are."

The Seldovia Fire Department also has a 5,000-gallon tanker truck.

"We use that for responding to calls outside city limits where we don't have hydrants," Lewis said. "The problem with that is we don't have any heated storage for it in the winter, so we have to drain it and take it off the road during the winter."

In other Seldovia news, the Arts Council will host the Australian pop band Fruit next Thursday. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Seldovia Village Tribe tent. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and are available from local merchants and arts council members.

Chris Bernard is a reporter for the Homer News. Items for this report may be e-mailed to him at cbernard@homernews.com.

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