Assembly Approves Guard Rail Funding

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
Despite the strong opinions of some Kodiak Island Borough Assembly members, a new guard rail will be installed on the corner of Monashka Circle and Bayview Drive.
It wasn’t the guard rail itself that some assembly members didn’t approve of, but rather the fact that the borough would be funding it. Assemblyman Aaron Griffin said he felt allocating $18,000 beyond the Bayview Service Area’s budget could set a financial precedent and pave the way for other service areas to ask the borough for additional funds. “I agree that the moneys by the letter of the law are available and that we can legally press forward and pay for this out of the interest earnings on the facilities fund account. I don’t agree with the use of that money as an assembly member. I think that our esteemed Mr. Arndt stepping up and asking for his fair share of that interest money for Service District 1 exemplifies the reason why we can’t do this.”
Members of the Bayview Service Area Board approached the borough about installing a guard rail many weeks ago, citing it as a huge safety hazard for the area. After going through a considerable amount of research, the board members discovered that the portion of the road in question was actually engineered and built by the borough. As a result, the board members felt it would the borough’s job to install the guard rail because it should have been installed when the road was built almost 30 years ago.
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch recognized the safety concerns, but agreed that the borough shouldn’t be paying for it.
“Not only have I been on the Assembly for 9 years but I was a service district chair for 10 years. And part of that process is coming up with a work plan every year to pick work that needs to be done in your service district. As the Bayview Service District has told us – this has been an issue for 30 years. So my question is why hasn’t that been on a work list. If it’s suddenly a new safety problem – the road hasn’t changed so I don’t know why it’s new. I agree with Mr. Griffin – I think this sets a precedent. I think that service districts should be planning and requesting loans if they cannot afford themselves to do these sorts of projects.”
Griffin and Lynch were alone in their sentiments on the matter, with the rest of the assembly favoring borough funds for the guard rail. Assemblyman Dave Kaplan said it’s the assembly’s job to keep the Kodiak community safe and this is absolutely a safety issue.
“I took a look at this last week – I don’t care what this opens up for other districts – this needs to be addressed right now. That is a dangerous area right there. And that needs to get done. And we can get it done ASAP while we have the means to do it.”
Even Assemblyman Mel Stephens, who doesn’t often side with the majority, agreed with Kaplan.
“This is really a minor thing and it’s a worthy project so I think we need to stop agonizing about it and get the work accomplished.”
The funding was approved in a 4-2 vote. Assemblywoman Carol Austerman was excused from last night’s meeting due to personal leave.

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