State funds for rural infrastructure projects limited

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak’s communities have identified infrastructure needs they’d like state funds for, but they’re not likely to receive that money anytime soon.

“I’m not holding my breath that there’s gonna be any significant amount of funding.”

Kodiak Island Borough Manager Michael Powers says borough staff is looking over the requests for fiscal year 2020, and the legislature usually considers those in the fall.

But the funds aren’t available as they have been in years past, according to Rep. Les Gara.

“Right now, we still have great needs in villages, great needs in communities, and if you look at the budget deficit, it’s really about 3, 400 million dollars more if you come back to a real capital construction project so you can fix ports, so you can address water and sewer issues, but the state right now without a fiscal plan does not have the ability to do that. I want to get to a point where we have the ability to do that.”

It’s unclear how many years the state will need before it’s in a fiscal position to distribute funds more liberally. The capital improvement projects lists from Kodiak’s villages include waste removal and energy initiatives.

Akhiok Mayor Dan McCoy says the community needs a new water break, and that tops of their CIP list.

“The storms we’ve been having, these wind storms are just eating the bank – the beach away into the road. It’s already into the road in several places. There’s places where the road’s barely wide enough for a car to get by.”

He says he was surprised he even got a call for the borough to review their CIP list, because the state is so short on funds.

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