Kodiak Island Borough Assembly Talks Budget Issues, Long-term Projects

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly talked about big projects for Kodiak and the state in its work session last Thursday night. Among the first items on the agenda was the list of the borough’s state legislative capital improvement project priorities.

Out of the seven projects, the Tustumena Replacement Vessel Construction was first and the Anton Larsen Bay road extension to ice free waters was second.

The assembly discussed the order of the items and how they felt the list should be arranged.

Assemblyman Mel Stephens said he wanted the parks and field plan to be taken off.

“A plan to help reconcile jurisdictional policy concerns and one thing and another. It’s 75,000 dollars. We don’t need more master plans in this community and to say that this is one of our highest C.I.P priorities in present times in just outrageous.”

He also spoke for putting East Elementary back onto the priority list.

Other items were the Monashka Bay water and sewer project feasibility, planning and design, service area road improvements and paving, a Fire Protection Area No. 1 fire tanker vehicle, and a Mill Bay Beach access and recreation upgrade. The assembly decided it would bring the list up again at its next work session.

The assembly also talked about renewing its hospital lease with Providence Health & Services Alaska versus offering that lease to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The contract expires in April 2017 and assembly members discussed needing more information from both parties and proceeding with negotiations on price.

Assemblyman Kyle Crow spoke about the value of competition in those negotiations.

“The difference of opinion here is on how best to get the best price. Whether we just negotiate sole source or whether we introduce competition or the potential of competition as Bud suggested, I guess, in one of his scenarios, is that we open up a negotiation with a sole source with the understanding that if we’re not happy with the way it’s going, that we do have a little bit of a leverage.”

The assembly will continue the discussion at its next work session. Another item on the agenda was the closure of the University of Fairbanks Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center.
The assembly viewed a letter which Assemblyman Larry LeDoux drafted on behalf of the Fisheries Work Group and addressed to the president of the University of Alaska from both Kodiak City and the Kodiak Island Borough.

Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said the letter expresses concern over losing the ability to conduct seafood research.

“Before you is a letter drafted on trying to retain not only that research portion of facility, but also not to allow some of the equipment that is in that facility [to leave] Kodiak. I think once that equipment leaves, then the program dies. Right now, the gist of the letter is to prevent… hopefully delay by a year any decision to close down the fisheries research section of the F.I.T.C.”

Mayor Jerrol Friend said they would put the issue on the agenda for this week’s regular meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday night and the assembly’s next work session is scheduled for December 1.

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