Over objections from composting opponents, the Kodiak City Council formally voted to pursue a sludge composting plant on the site of the Kodiak Island Borough landfill.

The vote follows a lengthy site selection process in which the city abandoned plans for a plant in Middle Bay after area residents protested. Sludge is the byproduct of the city's wastewater treatment plant, and an expansion project at the landfill means sludge can no longer be dumped into the landfill's pit.

Since December, a temporary composting plant has been set up at the landfill, but that interim plant must shut down by Aug. 15 because its site will be needed for the landfill expansion.

Kodiak resident Kevin Arndt testified at Thursday's meeting that he could design a sludge incineration system more cheaply than the city's consultants have stated.

Councilors rejected that idea, saying that the city -- which has spent years planning a composting project -- is too invested to switch gears. "I like the proposal from Mr. Arndt, but at the same time, we have spent an extraordinary amount of money to get to this stage," said councilman Charles Davidson.

Councilman John Whiddon added, "Delaying this project at this point would be irresponsible."

Whiddon and councilman Rich Walker said that they remain open to ideas that may develop in the future as technology improves.

In other business, councilors voted unanimously to update the city's building codes which are shared with the Kodiak Island Borough. The new codes, which require all new homes to receive an engineer's approval as well as a building permit, must be approved by the borough assembly before coming into effect.

The council also:

* approved the city's midwinter budget amendment;

* approved the city's budget goals for fiscal year 2014;

* approved a salary raise to $98,294 per year for city clerk Debra Marlar;

* modified its travel policy to remove a requirement that travel be planned at least 21 days in advance;

* approved the first reading of an ordinance modifying city code pertaining to junk vehicles

* awarded a $42,241 contract to Golder Associates to inspect the city's dams;

* transfered the Trident Basin gravel quarry permit from Anderson Construction to Golden Alaska Excavating;

* awarded a $1.539 million contract to Brechan Enterprises for Phase V of the Aleutian Homes sewer and water replacement project;

* increased a contract with CH2M Hill by $140,000 to design a new Monashka Reservoir pump house and find a location for the new pump house;

* awarded a $25,000 contract to NORTECH to clean and contain a small oil spill on Selief Lane;

* appointed Oliver Holm to the salmon/herring vessels seat on the Kodiak Fisheries Advisory Committee;

* and appointed Amy Fogle to a vacant alternate seat on the city's parks and recreation advisory board.

The city council next meets March 26 for a regular work session. The city's next meeting is March 28.

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