Council, Assembly Work on Common Issues

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly met in a rare joint session last night. It was a work session and no formal action was taken but the two boards covered a lot of ground from crossing guards to landfill expansion.

KMXT’s Jacob Resneck was there.

— city borough mtg pkg 3:32 "Given that it had been … legislation session in Juneau."

Given that it had been nearly a year since the two boards had met in joint session, there was a lot to discuss.

The community’s landfill is almost full. Current projections say this could happen within two to three years. Therefore some big decisions need to be made. An expansion plan is in the works that would extend the landfill’s life another forty years.

One of the two options calls for the borough to run a pipeline from the landfill that would pump liquid runoff called leachate to the city’s wastewater plant for treatment, and discharge.

The leftover sludge at the treatment plant would then be returned to the landfill. That’s the option recommended by the borough’s waste management consultant Cory Hinds.

— hinds1

The second alternative would see the borough construct a new plant to treat the landfill’s leachate. Both alternatives leave open the possibility of connecting houses in the Monashka Bay area to the city sewer, though Hinds said he couldn’t say how many houses could be accommodated in either scenario.

Members of the city council indicated they would have to study the issue further.

But by far the most emotive issue Tuesday night was over school crossing guards. The program has chronically short of volunteers and the cause of much community discussion. The city and borough reviewed a proposal to hire crossing guards at five intersections for an estimated cost of about $30,000.

Kodiak resident Nick Szabo encouraged the boards to professionalize the crossing guards.

— szabo1

But school superintendent Stewart McDonald said there’s been a chronic shortage of people willing to take the job. A previous effort to attract bids for a crossing guard corps had also seen no takers, said city manager Aimee Kniaziowski.

On the other hand, a shortage of volunteers has meant many intersections aren’t staffed and there was much back and forth on how best to proceed. While both boards agreed the current situation isn’t ideal, the status quo will likely remain through the end of the school year.

In the meantime a newly formed city/borough/school district committee will work toward crafting a long-term solution before the beginning of the fall semester.

Also discussed at length was whether to hire a fisheries analyst for the city and borough. Fisherman Alexus Kwachka said fisheries issues have a profound effect on the local economy and a consultant is needed.

— kwachka1

Opposition appeared from Borough Assemblywoman Judy Fulp who said she preferred keeping the chamber of commerce’s executive director as the community’s point-man to attend fisheries meetings. But a consensus emerged to form a committee that would draw up a specific job description for an expanded fisheries analyst.

There was no mention of two men who have already put their names forward for the hypothetical job. They areformer state Fish and Game commissioner Denby Lloyd who stepped down last month and is returning to Kodiak. The other proposal comes from commercial fisherman and former city councilman Terry Haines.

The two boards discussed meeting again following the end of legislative session.

I’m Jacob Resneck

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