The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will be asking voters what they think about consolidating the Kodiak Island Borough and the City of Kodiak. At its regular meeting last night, it voted to pose that question to voters during the borough election in October.
When it came time for public hearing, Kodiak City Councilman John Whiddon stepped up and read from a letter addressed to the assembly from the council.
“Since this a policy decision from the borough that affects more than half the borough residents, it would be most respectful, thoughtful, logical, and follow government process to have included this discussion for the ballot measure with the city council.”
Assemblyman Kyle Crow, who proposed the advisory question on consolidation, read from a prepared statement of his own.
“I do not believe that the borough assembly should conduct these discussions or that staff should expense significant time and effort performing additional research without first gauging the public sentiment and obtaining their input and approval. If the public is in favor, we can then begin performing the necessary research and having public hearings and meetings on this issue.”
Assemblyman Larry LeDoux also emphasized that the assembly is putting the question to the public and not pursuing consolidation, but rather a discussion about consolidation.
“There’s no specific plan, there’s no timeline, there’s no specifics on what we’re going to do. It’s an invitation for the communities of Kodiak to engage in a public meeting, a community meeting if you will by their vote, and we’ll do that, and I can’t imagine why elected officials would be afraid of that, and I think it’s a good thing.”
LeDoux also expressed the assembly’s continued interest in joint meetings with the city council.
“It’s important and certainly it’s come up a number of times that the borough and the city work closely together, and I’m very appreciative of the fact that our new manager and the city manager are meeting on a regular basis to start discussing issues of common concern and to facilitate communication so that neither governmental entity feels blindsided or disrespected.”
The assembly went ahead and approved the ordinance that would turn the question of consolidation over to the public in October.
The assembly’s next work session is scheduled for July 28 and its next regular meeting for Aug 4.