The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got an earful at their regular meeting last night about being more communicative with the Service Area 1 board. Chairman Scott Arndt says the assembly and borough staff failed to discuss or notify them of a charge of over $62,000 to their account. A paving project in Woodland Acres was completed in 2010 and the cost exceeded a $2.5 million state transportation bond by more than $175,000. The borough contested the overage with Brechen Enterprises, the contractor for the project. Instead of involving lawyers, Arndt says the borough and Brechen Enterprises compromised on a $50,000 reduction of the invoice. The remaining balance was split between Service Area 1 and the borough’s land sale fund. Arndt says the Service Area 1 board was never consulted during the process.
"And then to find that it’s been discussed, ruled and funds removed from the service district’s account is totally unacceptable and irresponsible on the assembly’s part, if you approved this. I think what the service district board- we met last night and agreed that I would come and speak with you- we need to discuss the issue before the money is taken from our account. We should be made aware that there is an issue to begin with. When I went in and saw Woody he apologized for not keeping us informed and I said ‘Thank you for the apology but I’m sorry. The apology is not acceptable in this case.’"
Arndt is referring to Woody Koning, the borough’s director of engineering and facilities.
Service Area 1 board Vice Chair Dennis Symmons echoed Arndt’s sentiment.
"In the future I think that representing our service districts to the best of our ability we demand that we be involved whenever our funds are talked about."
Assemblyman Mel Stephen supported further discussion with the board and Arndt’s request that the issue be discussed further at a future work session.
"I think there is a real problem where it appears to me that staff makes decisions regarding the expenditure of service district number 1’s fund without bringing in the service district board. I understand why staff has to make the ultimate decision on that, but I think they need to bring in the service district number 1 board."
Assemblywoman Louise Stutes gave a report on her trip to the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference. SWAMC is an economic development organization for the region. Stutes says a house bill that would help the state better understand the economic impact of commercial fishing by collecting data on crewmen was not popular at the conference. Kodiak City Councilmember Terry Haines discussed the issue at last week’s joint meeting and from that Stutes has decided to ask SWAMC to re-evaluate their position on the bill.
"SWAMC found that Crewman’s Association was kind of coat tailing them and trying to make it their issue and we found that there was a lot of opposition from boat owners saying, ‘Look, we’re not gonna to give you all this information so these crewmen can come take our quota or cut into our profits’ However at the joint city/borough meeting a city councilman who is also involved in the crewmen data program kind of assured us that that wasn’t going to be the case. So the long and short of all this is I am going to approach SWAMC once again to see if we can’t move forward with getting crewmen data once again because it will enhance communities’ opportunities for funding."
In other business, the assembly decided to postpone approval of a contract with Alaska Waste for solid waste collection pending consultation with the borough’s lawyer, they passed a resolution to support senate bill 155 and house bill 279 which would renew the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission through 2016 and they proclaimed March as National Women’s History Month.