The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Vendors unleashed, TYC fees on hold


A resolution before the Seward City Council at their May 12 meeting suggested that cutting fees Teen and Youth Center summer camps could reverse declining enrollment. The Seward Parks and Recreation Department was tasked over two years ago with increasing fees and instituting a sliding fee scale to offset subsidies to lower income families. In its rationale for cutting back fees, the department correlated the mandated rate increases over the past two summers with a more than 50 percent drop in enrollment.

As Seward Parks and Rec Director Karin Sturdy pointed out to The LOG in a related story two years ago, TYC is not necessarily comparable to daycare. The children’s days are filled with group activities including morning dance and exercise, walks to the playground, beaches, forest, the local pool, outdoor games and crafts, cooking and more. Several times each summer, longer field trips are available with additional charges per trip.

Councilors noted that private child care providers in the Seward area are fully enrolled and questioned whether the subsidized city programs would undercut local businesses. Councilor Christy Terry said she had seen no data on city costs for providing the programs or correlation to proposed or existing fees. Councilor Ristine Casagranda also said there wasn’t enough information. Terry moved to table the resolution on the basis that the case for dropping rates wasn’t clear.

A concluding note by city finance department head Kristin Erchinger says that city revenue will likely not decrease if fees are cut, but does not address possible costs to the city of increased participation at lower rates. The resolution was postponed until the May 27 council meeting and, in the meantime, Sturdy was tasked with putting numbers to daycare costs in the Seward area.

Vendor Permitting

Transient, mobile and roving vendors gained new definition under Ordinance 2014-004 as the creation of new permitting processes were fast tracked earlier this spring, resulting in the introduction of the ordinance a couple of months later. When enacted, the code changes will allow mobile vendors and roving vendors on City of Seward property and within public rights of way.

Mobile vendors will be required to apply for permits granting parking privileges on city property and in designated parking spaces. The exact permitting process and associated fees are under development and will be determined administratively. In discussion of the ordinance, councilors generally agreed that trimester permits would be a good way to create more flexibility for seasonal vendors.

Alternative Energy

Ordinance 2014-003, which makes code changes that will accommodate customer-generated power via alternative energy generation, was introduced on the consent agenda and was absent any discussion. The provisions for connecting solar and wind power sources to city-supplied utilities at homes and businesses has been in the works for almost two years in its present form.


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