City Council’s May Meeting

By Heidi Zemach for Seward City News

Harbormaster Mack Funk accepts proclamation for upcoming Harbor Opening Weekend, and related events. Heidi Zemach photo

Harbormaster Mack Funk accepts proclamation for upcoming Harbor Opening Weekend, and related events. Heidi Zemach photo

The Seward City Council approved a number of resolutions without discussion or debate during a meeting of under an 90 minutes Monday, May 13th. They unanimously accepted a number of resolutions on their consent agenda including a $24,000 grant, and appropriated a city 5% match of $1,200 to purchase new exercise equipment for the city volunteer fire department. The equipment will be placed in a 24-hour facility, available for emergency volunteer’s use. According to the resolution 2013-030, heart attacks are the leading killer of emergency responders for this physically and mentally demanding work.

A second resolution they passed will add an additional $71,000 to the existing $550,000 city contract with Harmon Construction Inc., which is constructing a vessel wash down pad at Seward Municipal Industrial Center, or SMIC.  The change order will enable Harmon to install a wash water holding tank that will allow the wash down pad to operate during light and moderate rain storms. The system it originally designed was inadequate for that, according to the project engineer, PND Engineers Inc. The wash down pad still has no source of heat provided to melt snow or ice, however.

A third resolution recommends that the Kenai Peninsula Borough approve the Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area’s 2013 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Update. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, requires all states to submit a hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for FEMA funding in disasters, and requires those plans to be updated regularly. They guide citizens and policy makers in mitigating potential natural hazard disasters, and ensure public awareness and involvement. The plan’s approval will be reintroduced in the assembly June 4th with the city council’s recommendation. The assembly also has an ordinance to accept $1.3 million in federal and state reimbursement for last year’s Sept 12 flood damage.

Sue Lang. of the USCG Auxillary, invited folks to don their life-jackets, and visit the new coast guard facility. Heidi Zemach photo

Sue Lang. of the USCG Auxillary, invited folks to don their life-jackets, and visit the new coast guard facility in honor of boating safety week. She thanked the many agencies that help promote boater safety. Heidi Zemach photo



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Finally, the council passed a resolution accepting a $3,000 grant from Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm Corridor Communities Association to hire a museum assistant to help scan and upload over 300 local historic photos into the statewide historic photo database, and to add ’64 Earthquake-related material to the UAA Consortium Library Archives in time for the 50th anniversary of the event.

Under New Business, the council approved two ordinances for introduction. They will have public hearings, and will be up for final approval at the next meeting. One ordinance establishes electronic notification of wait list customers at the Small Boat Harbor. The other revises the city code to eliminate quarterly moorage rates at the harbor.

In Unfinished Business, the council held three public hearings on proposed changes to the International Mechanical Code, International Building Code, and adopting the 2012 IBC, and amending the 2012 edition of the International Fire Code, amending a chapter of its Health and Safety code. No one came forward to testify. After some discussion, the council rejected the new IBC code and revisions by a 3-2 vote, however. Councilmembers Bob Valdatta, Christy Terry and Mayor David Seaward voted in favor of the ordinance, while Vanta Shafer and Marianna Keil voted against it. Vice Mayor Jean Bardarson, whose husband, a contractor who converts steel shipping containers into temporary living structures, abstained from the discussion and vote for conflict of interest reasons. The vote means that the city will continue to operate under the 2006 building code that allows temporary structures to be approved for 180 days, with extensions possible if granted by the building inspector. The building inspector also must abide by the recently adopted 2009 state building code changes. The council will likely wait until the state adopts its own
version of the 2012 IBC before adopting its own version of the building code.

The International Mechanical Code and International Fire Code revisions were amended, but their approval was postponed to allow additional public hearings during the May 28th council meeting.

SPD Lieutenant Tiner invites the public to participate in the Olympic Torch Run, and to honor corrections/peace officers week.  Heidi Zemach photo.

SPD Lieutenant Tiner invites the public to participate in the Olympic Torch Run, and to honor corrections/peace officers week. Heidi Zemach photo.

The mayor issued five city proclamations including the U.S. Coast Guard’s safety week and life-jacket safety day this Friday, the Harbor Opening Weekend, May 18-19, the Seward Mariner’s Memorial dedication and blessing of the fleet, Seward’s Military Appreciation Week May 15-31st, National Peace Officer’s week, and the Special Olympics Torch Run/Terry Pollard Exit Glacier race on Saturday morning.

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