The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly last night approved all the major items on its regular meeting agenda, including those related to the new high school, the severance tax, and a partial ban on fireworks in the borough.
KMXT’s Maggie Wall has details.
-((Boro Ass 6:18 "While the agenda…future assembly meeting. SOC"))
While the agenda for last night’s Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting was short and limited in scope, the comments received from the public were numerous and ranged through a number of topics.
Thirteen people spoke during Citizen’s Comments which appears near the top of the agenda, in the early portion of the meeting. The public is allowed three minutes to speak on any topic they wish-whether it’s on the agenda or not.
Most of last night’s comments were related to the school or the severance tax, but others included concerns about the proposed expansion of roll cart garbage service and the abuse of 4-wheelers at Beaver Lake. One person who called in commented on the proposal to limit fireworks in the borough.
The ordinance to limit fireworks was the only item actually set for public hearing last night. And the comments were mixed. They ranged from Mel Stephens who said there was no need for the ordinance to Lorna Arndt who said there should be a total ban on fireworks in the borough.
-((Lorna :40 Just ban period.
Assembly member Sue Jeffrey said she felt the ordinance would encourage the Alaska State Troopers to crack down on abusers.
-((Sue Jeffrey :54 will come
Assembly member Jerrol Friend said he was going to vote against it because he felt the ordinance was unenforceable. Chris Lynch also voted against the ordinance, which was approved 5 to 2.
The assembly also approved the Design Concept for the Kodiak High School addition and renovation project. Tony Yorba works for the lead architectural firm on the project. He said the design is in its 10th iteration, having gone through countless hours of meetings since January with school and community members.
-((Tony Yorba :42 4 story structure
The $76 million dollar price tag raise concerns with many of those who commented, but Yorba explained that the design would not so much be for a single project, but more like a multiple of add-ons. If later, the borough decides it cannot afford some of the add-ons, they can be eliminated without throwing off the entire project.
The assembly unanimously approved the high school Design Concept 7-0.
The other item on last night’s agenda that sparked a lot of interest was a proposal to change the severance tax. Right now the severance tax on natural resource extraction is directly connected to the mill rate for property taxes. The proposal would change it to a fixed percentage of gross value of product.
Julie Bonney, who represents both fish harvesters and shore-side processors, said the proposal would greatly increase the tax to fishermen.
-((Julie Bonney :53 Singling out one group
Several assembly members said the tax ordinance needed more study and a few said they wanted to advance it to second reading to get more public input. In the end it was approved 5 to 2 with Lois Stutes and July Fulp voting against the measure.
The severance tax will come up again for final reading at a future assembly meeting.
I’m Maggie Wall.