Kodiak residents can expect nothing when it comes to this year’s state Capital Budget. That section of the budget pays for big ticket items and has in the past helped, or totally paid for items such as roads, road repairs, schools, harbor facilities and the like.
But both Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens and House Representative Louise Stutes say the proposed ‘skinny’ budget has no extras in it this year.
The Alaska Legislature is in special session trying to hammer out a budget for the state that the governor will not veto.
One of the items specified in Governor Mike Dunleavy’s special session call of the legislature is the capital budget.
The capital budget includes big ticket items such as schools, roads and boat harbor repairs. Things that local communities have trouble funding on their own.
Cities and villages from around the state approve and submit what they sometimes call their capital improvements wish list. Years past has found Kodiak getting all kinds of new infrastructure projects and school building repairs. Park improvements were popular in years past as well.
But not this year.
“We’ve past the days when we could come home and proudly say, ‘We got you this dock
or this harbor or whatever. That’s just not happening this year.”
That’s Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens who spoke with KMXT from Juneau. He says legislators from both bodies are planning for what he calls “a skinny budget.”
“Ah, yes it is. We both realize that we don’t have, we don’t have the funds to do much of a capital budget anymore, so both the house and the senate will agree on this skinny budget.”
Among the big ticket projects the City of Kodiak has requested funding for are new tsunami sirens and a new fire station above the tsunami inundation zone.
The borough’s list for state funding includes road and school related projects.
But none of those items are in the state’s skinny capital projects and are not expected to be added, according to Stevens.
“The only thing in our district is some EVOS monies that will be turned over to the marine science center in Cordova.”
Representative Louise Stutes said with so little money available, the capital budget will focus on two things.
“It’s going to be basically health and safety projects. I think that’s pretty much what’s going to get the money, If it’s a matter of health and safety.”
The Alaska Legislature had a total of 30 days to finalize and approve all the items on the governor’s call. The biggest decision to be made say both Stutes and Stevens is the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend.
The governor said it is vital to cut the state’s budget to allow for a $3,000 PFD. Others argue that putting out that much money this year will mean much smaller PFDs in the future.