City of Seward, Council, Featured

Chockablock Full November City Council

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Firefighter of the Year Austin Chapman, Del Moffit Award Recipient Jilian Chapman & Ken Akerly Fire Service Leadership Award Recipient Eddie Athey.

By Kelley Lane for Seward City News –

Monday night’s City Council meeting was nearly 4 hours long and covered a wide range of topics, from Firefighter awards to a boat storage lease at SMIC. City Council had previously chosen to have just one meeting in the month of November, instead of the usual two meetings per month, due to the need for a quorum amidst vacation schedules and the Thanksgiving holiday. All seven members of Seward’s city council were present, along with City Manager, Jim Hunt, City Attorney, Will Earnhart and City Clerk, Johanna Kinney. The energy was high in the room, as it was full of community members and presenters.

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Mayor Jean Bardarson recognizing our local service awardees at November’s City Council meeting

City Council heartily recognized Seward’s 2016 State Firefighter Award Recipients. There are five awards given out in Alaska, and this year Seward residents were awarded three of them. Firefighter of the year was awarded to Austin Chapman, who in addition to this award, gave an enthusiastic tour to the Daisy Girl Scout Troop two weeks ago. The Del Moffitt Award Recipient this year was granted to Jilian Chapman. And Seward’s own fire chief was honored with the Ken Akerly Fire Service Leadership Award. The three were present in uniform at Monday’s meeting, smiling as they received recognition from Mayor Bardarson and a standing ovation from the public.

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The US Military gave an informational presentation regarding next May’s planned training exercises, known as Northern Edge Exercises, which are held every other year, on odd years, dating back to 1975. The two presenters, one military, Lt. Col Timothy Bobinski, and one civilian contractor, Jon Jerome Montague, Ph.D, explained the value of doing these exercises in the large land and water space that Alaska provides, a unique location not available anywhere else in the United States. These exercises require “Alaskan-sized spaces” said Bobinski. Most of the exercises will be held over water, which is why they choose to do them in the warmer months of the year, so as to minimize risk associated with cold water rescues. This year the exercises will take place between May 1-12th and will bring 6,000 military personnel, plus their families to Alaska. The expected economic impact is 6 million dollars in lodging, rental cars, support contracts and other spending. The closest exercises will take place off the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula.

Resolution 2016-072, sponsored by City Manager, Jim Hunt, provided a lively discussion amongst members of City Council. This resolution would allow for a lease of land at Seward Marine Industrial Center (SMIC) to Hamilton Construction, LLC for the storage of three vessels and their associated gear on a parcel of land located directly west of Alaska Logistics. “It is incumbent upon me to [work towards] economic development in our area” said Hunt. Council member Marianna Kiel was also in support of the proposal, stating that “Hamilton is becoming a local company.” Much of the debate about whether to grant the lease to Hamilton was based around whether such a lease was in keeping with the overall strategy for SMIC, a concern that Council Member Ristine Casagranda voiced. The Hamilton proposal does not contain immediate plans to erect a building, and thus Hamilton will not be responsible for paying for extension of sewer lines to be extended to their property at this time. The current city policy is that the first businesses and homeowners in an area are required to pay for the infrastructure to hook up to the city’s utilities. For instance, the cost of a new transformer would be the responsibility of the first person to need the transformer. The following two parties to hook up to that transformer would reimburse the original party for their portion of the transformer fees. The resolution passed 6 to 1 and the lease will be granted to Hamilton.

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Police Chief Tom Clemons departing City Hall after a long City Council session

The City Council approved Resolution 2016-079 which grants funds to purchase a 2017 Ford Explorer Police Vehicle, in order to replace a police vehicle which was damaged beyond repair earlier this fall. Police Chief Tom Clemons explained that he “ wasn’t planning to replace a vehicle this year, but now, we need to.” The vehicle will take about three months to arrive to Seward, as the vehicle will be constructed after purchase, and then all safety equipment will be installed prior to its arrival in Seward. Council Member David Squires ascertained that the vehicles winter tires will be purchased locally here in Seward.

The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, December 12th in the Council Chambers at 7pm.

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