The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly has a new member to fill the place of Mel Stephens, who resigned from his position in April. Stephens did not give a reason for his decision, but it did come soon after the assembly voted to hire Kodiak’s new borough manager, Michael Powers, a move Stephens was vehemently against.
At its assembly regular meeting Thursday night, the assembly members cast their votes to choose between two candidates: Monique Lewis and Scott Smiley.
The vote led to a tie which it came down to Mayor Jerrol Friend to break.
“The votes are in and Mr. Smiley, you’ve got the seat. Congratulations. Monique, thanks a lot for putting the time in on that one.”
Scott Smiley stepped up to the podium and borough clerk Nova Javier signed him into office.
Smiley will fill the seat until the results of the October municipal elections are certified.
Last night’s regular meeting was also the first for Powers as borough manager. Powers comes from California, where he has had experience in similar positions in local
At the meeting, he tapped into his background in finance and provided a fresh perspective on the Kodiak Island Borough’s budget. He expressed alarm that 20 percent of the mill rate goes to debt service.
“That is an area of extreme concern and because of the nature of debt service and high borrowing cost – you know, I’ve done a lot of bonding. The interest rate is one component, but the issuance cost, which almost always gets rolled into the bonding cost, that is a lot of debt to be servicing for a very small property tax rate.”
He also said borough staff would like to educate the assembly and the public about how the budget works through public forums and other forms of education.
The assembly’s next work session is on June 9, and the next regular meeting is scheduled for June 16.