1st Class City
in the Kenai Peninsula Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Airport (State Contract), Port/Harbor, Police, Jail (State Contract), Volunteer Fire/EMS/Ambulance/Search & Rescue, Animal Control(contract), Library, Roads, Parks & Recreation, Community Services, City Hall, Campgrounds
Geography and Climate
- Homer is located on the north shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwestern edge of the Kenai Peninsula. The Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile long bar of gravel, extends from the Homer shoreline. It is 227 road miles south of Anchorage, at the southern-most point of the Sterling Highway.
- Homer lies in the maritime climate zone. During the winter, temperatures range from 14 to 27 °F; summer temperatures vary from 45 to 65 °F. Average annual precipitation is 24 inches, with 55 inches of snow.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- The Homer area has been home to Kenaitze Indians for thousands of years. In 1895, the U.S. Geological Survey arrived to study coal and gold resources. Prospectors bound for Hope and Sunrise disembarked at the Homer Spit. The community was named for Homer Pennock, a gold mining company promoter, who arrived in 1896 and built living quarters for his crew of 50 on the spit. Their plans were to mine the beach sands along Cook Inlet, from Homer to Ninilchik. The Homer Post Office opened shortly thereafter. In 1899, Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company built a town and dock on the spit, a coal mine at Homer's Bluff Point, and a 7-mile-long railroad that carried the coal to the end of Homer Spit. Various coal mining operations continued until World War I, and settlers continued to trickle into the area, some to homestead in the 1930s and 40s, others to work in the canneries built to process Cook Inlet fish. Coal provided fuel for homes, and there is still an estimated 400 million tons of coal deposits in the vicinity of Homer. The city government was incorporated in March 1964. After the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964, the Homer Spit sunk approximately 4 to 6 feet, and several buildings had to be relocated.
- While commercial fishing has long been the mainstay of the Homer economy, tourism has become increasingly important. Homer is known as an arts community and is also a gateway community in relation to more remote destinations, such as Kachemak Bay State Park and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Activities and events, such as the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby and Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, draw many participants.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Incorporation Type
- 1st Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- May be permitted to exercise the powers in accordance with AS 29.40.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 30 mills, except where a higher levy is necessary to avoid default on debt. Voter approval is not required under State law; however, stricter limitations can be imposed at the local level.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes, but voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 6 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected at large for a 3-year term, unless a different term not to exceed 4 years is provided by ordinance.
- Vote by Mayor
- May vote to break a tie vote on the city council.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Has veto power, except veto is not permitted of ordinance prohibiting posession of alcohol.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted by statute.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- Voters may adopt home-rule charter.
- Homer is accessible through the Sterling Highway. It is often referred to as 'The End of the Road,' because it lies at the terminus of the Sterling Highway. The state owns and operates the Homer Airport, which has an asphalt runway and float plane basin and a seaplane base at Beluga Lake. The city is served by scheduled and chartered aircraft services. There are additional private landing strips in the vicinity. The Alaska Marine Highway and local ferry services provide water transportation. The deep-water dock can accommodate 30-foot drafts and 340-foot vessels. There is a cruise ship dock, a boat harbor with moorage for 920 vessels, and a 4-lane boat launch ramp.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection