Council Postpones Decision on New Harbor Rate Structure

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council debated the postponement of a five-year rate structure for harbor fees at its regular meeting last night. The rate structure would apply an across-the-board cost increase of 6 percent intended to build revenue needed for harbor facilities replacement and maintenance. That means 6 percent of the current rate rather than a compounded rate based on each previous year.

Councilman John Whiddon proposed the postponement. He said he’s looking for more detailed discussion on the rate structure.

“What I would prefer to have is a more statistical, more analytical approach to seeing what we specifically need to achieve the goals and objectives of the harbor, to achieve both admin and operating costs and maintenance costs, plus factor in the necessary capital replacement costs at a rate that users can accommodate that, and we haven’t had that discussion.”

He also said he’d like to give the community and those affected by the fees more time to learn about the increase.

Councilman Charlie Davidson disagreed with postponement.

“I think the longer we delay, the longer we get behind in the funds needed to install the infrastructure needs that are deteriorating at St. Herman harbor as well as the boat harbor downtown, so I’m opposed to any delay – and like I say, I’m sorry that the notification was short, but the discussion has been going on for quite a while that rates were going to be raised.”

Councilman Gabriel Saravia emphasized the overall community benefit of increasing fees.

“We have a responsibility to the citizens of Kodiak, but not just to the fishermen. We have a responsibility to all the citizens, to everybody who pays taxes… And I really believe that doing business costs money, and that money has to come from the people to do business.”

Councilwoman Laura Arboleda spoke in favor of the postponement.

“I believe that as a council, it is our duty to the people who are the harbor users to thoroughly think about and talk about these fees. I mean, the money will come, but I’d also love for the people to stay here.”

The council ultimately decided to postpone the decision on the new fee structure until further discussion. Whiddon expressed interest in seeing the council officially readdress approving the rate structure in a few months’ time.

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