State Agrees to 70-Percent School Reimbursement


Jennifer Canfield/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got some good news during the borough manager’s report at last night’s regular meeting. Rick Gifford announced that Kodiak Island School District Superintendent Stewart McDonald had received notice that the state would be reimbursing 70 percent of the $76 million price tag on the new high school, which translates to nearly $8 million in savings for Kodiak taxpayers.

Borough Mayor Jerome Selby explains.

(Borough 1 :24 "The state’s gonna pick up 70 percent of the total which means that the state is gonna pay 56 million and the community will just pay the balance. Before that decision was made it was a 60 percent reimbursement, so there’s another 10 percent or 8 million dollars that we would have had to pay from local taxation of our community.")

A resolution authorizing the borough to apply for an increase on their loan amount for the landfill expansion project garnered two very opposing viewpoints from two assembly members. Assemblyman Mel Stephens was against the resolution.

(Borough 2 :48 "I realize that project can’t simply be abandoned, that it’s got to go forward and be completed in a timely matter so that when the existing permitted area is closed out we have a new area and I have no argument at all on that point. But it appears to me that the cost overrun on this project is so extensive that it’s irresponsible for us simply to go along and keep asking for additional loans and one thing and another until we have a handle on why this apparently grew from a $2.6 million project to something well over $10 million.")

Assemblywoman Chris Lynch voiced her support for the resolution.

(Borough 3 :37 "This resolution authorizes the borough to submit an application for an increase in the amount of the existing loan. All of these things are on calendars; you don’t get to submit when you feel like it so it’s appropriate that we submit now. Landfills are regulated by DEC and EPA and we don’t have the option of saying ‘Oh no, I don’t feel like doing that right now cause I wanna better evaluate things.’ Things move, things change, things change while you’re doing something you thought was right five years ago. So it’s the nature of the beast and I will vote in support of this.")

The assembly passed the resolution 5-1, with Stephens casting the NO vote.

During the assembly’s closing comments, assemblyman Tuck Bonney shared his concern about a lack of employment and all-around hard times in Kodiak.

(Borough 4 :42 "In the 30-40 years I’ve been running around Shelikof street I have never seen this many people looking for work. Usually at the plant we’ll run 65 people at night and maybe 75-80 during the day. Well, right now we’re almost at a 100 percent and I’ve never turned people away at this time of the year and I am turning people away 5, 6, 7 people a day coming in looking for work. Things are tough out there and things are real tough in the lower 48 because some of these people are coming up from the lower 48 because there’s no work down there. So it’s something to thing about that a lot of people are out of work and a lot of people are looking for work.")

The borough also voted to adopt their strategic plan for 2012-2016 and to forward an amended letter to the Kodiak Island Borough School District concerning borough funding for their 2013 budget.


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