Borough and City Embark on Process to Consider Consolidation

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly broached the topic of consolidation for the first time since voters decided the two bodies should explore forming into one unit of government. At the council and assembly joint work session Wednesday night, Assemblyman Larry LeDoux said he wanted to leave the meeting with an idea of how to approach the issue.

“We’re going on a journey and we don’t know what it’s going to look like. I mean, I don’t know if I’ll support the outcome. I don’t think anyone did that voted for it, but somehow we have to have dialogue, and this cannot happen unless the city is just an active, active partner in this. It just won’t work, and again I don’t know where we’re going, what it’ll look like when we’re done. We agreed to talk about it, and so I think the start is to do the beginning of the beginning, which is ‘what’s the process?’”

Councilman John Whiddon said he agreed that the first step is to develop a process and that everything else will fall into place.

“Maybe it’s reasonable to have the managers and the mayors meet initially, but as much as I hate to say it, but I think a joint committee of the borough and the assembly together working on this with help from the P & Z, help from all the various department heads, whoever it might be, to bring them in I think is really gonna get us where we need to go.”

Borough Manager Michael Powers said consolidation needs to be looked at comprehensively. He said he’s spoken with City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski, who was absent from the meeting, and neither one of them has adequate staff or resources to undertake the necessary study on consolidation. He said they need legal assistance.

“We both concur that based on our having done research on Alaskan law and the powers that the different entities currently have, that if it was a combined entity, it would need to have its own charter, so it would have to be a home rule entity, and that definitely requires us to bring in additional expertise, especially on the legal front.”

He said they are supportive of doing a study, but they’ll need help.

At the end of the discussion, the council and assembly agreed the managers and mayors would get together and move forward in the process from there.

The next joint work session is set for December 21.

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