Kodiak Projects Shuffled in Budget Battle

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

There’s been some reshuffling by the Senate that affects which of Kodiak’s capital projects would receive state funding. On Friday the Senate Finance Committee released a revised capital budget that removes Kodiak’s most expensive item on the list but adds others. KMXT’s Jacob Resneck reports.

— capital budget pkg 5:03 "Missing from the … I’m Jacob Resneck."

Missing from the Senate’s latest capital budget is $15.5 million for the Kodiak High School renovation project. Senate President Gary Stevens of Kodiak says it presented a ripe target for the governor’s veto pen.

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House Majority Leader Alan Austerman of Kodiak says he agrees with the strategy and there’s likely more state funding to reach Kodiak.

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Projects now added to the Senate’s capital budget are $8 million for a new dock and ferry terminal at Port Lions. There’s more than two million dollars each for a dock at Anton Larsen Bay and emergency generators for the school district. There’s also more than a million dollars each for a tsunami shelter at Womens Bay and planning and design for a longterm care facility for Kodiak. These represent new additions to the Senate’s version of the capital budget and Stevens says predicts they’re relatively secure.

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Kodiak Island Borough Manager Rick Gifford says he feels Kodiak’s legislative delegation maneuvered well in reallocating funding for the district.

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And just because the $15.5 million was removed for the Kodiak High School project, that doesn’t mean the community will be on the hook for the full amount. That’s because the state is already obliged to fund more than half of the bonded project, explains school superintendent Stewart McDonald.

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But the budget battle is still not resolved. The Senate and House are at loggerheads with how to draft a budget that would be veto-proof by Governor Sean Parnell. The governor had hinted he might use his power of line-item veto to remove capital projects from districts whose representatives hadn’t supported his now scuttled oil production tax cut.

Both Stevens and Austerman were vocal skeptics of the governor’s tax cut. Stevens says whether the governor makes good on his threat is something that remains to be seen.

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The House and Senate are now in the midst of a special session to complete a state budget. Negotiations are reportedly continuing.

I’m Jacob Resneck

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