As far as capital wish lists go, the city has a relatively small one. The four item capital improvement projects list was one of many topics of conversation during last night’s city council work session. Kodiak’s Representative Alan Austerman and Senator Gary Stevens were also present during the work session and offered legislative insights on the city’s proposed projects.
Before the group got down to discussing each item, Austerman helped paint a rough picture of what the state’s budget might look like this year.
“I’m anticipating, the governor’s got a five year reduction plan in the budget. And we’re waiting to see what that reduction plan this coming year. Last year was his first stab at it I guess you could say, would it be his first year of holding line on the budget from there. There are rumors out there, and I can’t confirm them yet, that we’ll take a billion dollars out of the budget next year, compared to this year. So we will reduce the size of government this second time around. The state of Alaska is no different from the federal government in trying to maintain in control our spending versus our income.”
As for the city’s CIP list, the number one item is replacing the Monashka pumphouse. The city is asking $2.5 million from the state to put toward the $6.8 million project. The current pumphouse is more than 40 years old and operates four pumps from the 1940s.
The second item on the list is a $400,000 request to help replace the E911 equipment, which City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said requires constant maintenance and desperately needs to be replaced.
“Both our IT people and Lieutenant Ellis, I mean they just hover over that and nurse it along. There were times where they were in there resetting that equipment. So it’s very old. So we’re hoping for, if we can get that much funding we’d be very appreciative, if it’s less than that we’d be very appreciative for whatever level of help. But it is a very important, and it benefits not just the city but the people on the road system as well.”
City Mayor Pat Branson stressed the city’s top two projects, and how crucial they are for Kodiak.
“And Also, on our CIP list, number one and two are really safety factors. With Monashka Bay supplying not only residents but certainly industry the water that they need.”
The industry Branson mentions is the fish processing plants that receive water from the pumphouse and often double the amount of water the facility pumps during peak fish processing seasons.
Rounding out the list is a $1.65 million request for Shelikof Street bulkhead parking. The city hopes to construct 30 new parking spaces adjacent to St. Paul Harbor to help offset congestion in the area.
The fourth and final CIP request is for the Shelikof Street pedestrian improvement project. They city hopes to acquire $3.8 million in state funding to improve pedestrian access and build a visitor shelter with information kiosks and public restrooms. Likewise, the city aims to improve the aesthetics of the area and create a scenic trail along the St. Paul Harbor breakwater.
The list is just a draft, and Kniaziowski said the council won’t actually vote on a final list until sometime in December.