It’s time to work together and move forward. That’s how the Kodiak City Council and the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly ended their discussion on consolidation at their recent joint work session.
For years, the subject of consolidating the City of Kodiak and the Kodiak Island Borough has been a contentious topic. Borough Mayor Dan Rohrer says it would be nice to finally have an answer to whether or not consolidation is a good idea.
“For most of my adult life, when people start getting frustrated about our local community, what do they start talking about? They start talking about annexation, they start talking about consolidation. And for me, I feel like sometimes these issue end up then getting in the way of our being able to deal with other issues. So, I personally would like to see us put to rest the issue.”
There’s been tension between the council and the assembly concerning consolidation because the council doesn’t believe it’s been included enough in the borough’s process of researching it. Council member John Whiddon says it’s time to put those feelings aside for the good of Kodiak.
“The issue that you have initiated have ramifications that reach every individual on this island. Every community, every entity on this island will be impacted by some form of change of governance, whatever it may be. So, the only way it can be successful is if we as governmental bodies is if we sit down at the same table and work together.”
One of the things the city council is proposing is the two governments invite the Local Boundary Commission to hold a public forum to educate community members on consolidation. The commission is a state entity that works to objectively analyze the effects of municipalities altering their governments. This idea was well received by the assembly.
There are a lot of challenges facing the region other than consolidation says Assemblyman Matthew Van Daele. And he thinks the council and the assembly need to make an effort to work together to take on these issues.
“I, as an individual and as a family man, am thinking what is Kodiak gonna be in as close as ten years from now. Are we going to turn into a ghost town? You know, do I need to start pulling up roots and leaving like so many of my generation are doing? So, c’mon everybody let’s just figure this out and work together and create something that’s going to work for the community.”
No decisions on consolidation were made at the joint work session. Both the assembly and the council will have to separately discuss how each would like to move forward. But the discussion ended on a seemingly collaborative note.