Rural Community Leaders Gather in Kodiak for Forum

ceremonial_lamp.jpgA lamp lit in the conference room where the Kodiak Archipelago Rural Regional Leadership Forum held a Regional Government Collaboration Worksession on Wednesday. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Leaders in communities throughout Kodiak are meeting Wednesday through Friday for the Kodiak Archipelago Rural Regional Leadership Forum. Representatives attend meetings like the “Rural Education Roundtable” and “Community Safety.”

Several Kodiak Borough Assembly members stopped by the Regional Government Collaboration Worksession yesterday to discuss different programs and projects in Kodiak.

Borough Manager Bud Cassidy addressed the list of projects municipalities send to the state for funding requests.

“Obviously with the reduction in state revenues, there wasn’t a whole lot of capital projects – CIPs, capital improvement projects – that were funded,” says Cassidy. “And in fact, I think it’s easy to state that until the state economy picks up that the chance of funding capital projects is pretty slim.”

Cassidy says it’s still important for leaders to note the projects that are important to their communities and says they should continue to compile their list, despite the suffering budget.

Cassidy also updated those present about how plummeting oil prices will affect State Revenue Sharing. He says that even without those added funds, Kodiak will have backup through other income sources.

“What I’ll tell the assembly in my budget is we are fortunate that we aren’t tied so directly to oil revenues,” Cassidy says. “The Kodiak Island Borough is really dependent on fishing, which is our foundation.”
Speakers also announced to the room that the Anton Larsen Bay dock extension is progressing as planned. The dock is accessible to Kodiak, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions.

One Forum attendee expressed concern about fishing vessels spending too long at the dock and crowding the spaces so that residents can’t access them. Mayor Jerrol Friend says one of the solutions is taking away the pilings to make more space on either side of the dock.

“Between that and doubling the length, we’re gonna see a lot more usable space and easier access for the boats,” says Mayor Friend. “But I do agree that we might want to put a blue marker for thirty feet there off the dock that says this is one hour parking. Maybe something we can do like that. For loading and unloading only, one hour limited, the rest of it is whatever time we come up with, so that’s something  that we’ll definitely be looking at.”

The Leadership Forum continues today with meetings about housing, education, and safety. Tomorrow, community leaders will hear from fisheries groups.

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