Council Addresses Communication Difficulties with KIB Assembly

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The talk around the table at the Kodiak City Council work session Tuesday night emphasized the problems in communication between the council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly.

One item on the agenda addressed the assembly’s decision to revert the borough’s building code back to the 2012 international residential code in order, some assembly members said, to relax engineering requirements. The city and borough currently share a building department through a memorandum of agreement.

That may not be the case for much longer if the assembly and council do not reach an agreement. Some council members suggested dissolving the MOA.

Deputy Building Official Ted Hansen, who is currently the only staffer in the building apartment, expressed displeasure with the assembly’s decision, but at the same time said he wants the MOA to continue.

“It’s going to cost everybody more money, both the city and the borough residents for the MOA to go away. It’s not the right thing to do and I don’t want to see it, but on the other hand, I believe that there should have been some discussion from the borough assembly with the city council before they chose to do it, because I truly believe that they violated the MOA in not striving to keep the codes identical.”

Councilman John Whiddon said the council should meet with the assembly and give it the chance to reconsider. Its decision could determine whether or not the borough continues to share a building department with the city.

Councilman Charlie Davidson referred to the assembly’s recent decision to put an advisory question to voters about whether or not the borough and city should consolidate into one unit of government.

“You know, I’m really confused. On one hand, the borough wants to think about consolidating government because there’s too much of it. On the other hand, we can’t even agree with the memorandum of understanding on the building department, so I’m confused.”

City Mayor Pat Branson has repeatedly said that it would have been the appropriate step for the borough assembly to have sat down with the city council and consulted them before going forward on the advisory question. The spirit in the room was that communication is the issue, not the council’s stance on consolidation.

Branson said she would bring the issue up again at the regular meeting Thursday night. You can tune into that live here on KMXT starting at 7:30 p.m. or attend the meeting itself in the assembly chambers.

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