On the municipal election ballot Tuesday will be a question seeking the public’s approval of a $10-million bond package to do maintenance projects in Kodiak Island Borough Schools. Borough Manager Bud Cassidy was on Talk of the Rock this week to explain the bond and its implications.
“So there’s underground storage tanks, there is flooring replacement. That could be tile that’s worn out or carpeting that’s stretched and creates a tripping hazard,” Cassidy said. “HVAC controls – that has to do with heating and cooling a building, pretty critical when they’re paying six bucks a gallon for diesel oil. So controls which actually are able to monitor the building by computer to tell you when heat needs to be applied and doesn’t need to be applied. Cafeteria roof at East Elementary school, maintenance on a roof. Fire alarm replacement and replacement of boilers.”
Borough Finance Director Karl Short said this was probably the best time to float a bond for school facilities work, and not just because the interest rates are extremely low:
“You know we need to keep up with our infrastructure, or it may become more expensive as maintenance costs go up through obsolescence,” Short said. “And right now with the state reimbursement at 70 percent at the high school and new school construction, it is a way for our citizens to save money by doing the work now and not putting it off to when we don’t get that state reimbursement.”
That reimbursement will be 70-percent from the State of Alaska, Cassidy said, just like the Kodiak High School addition project:
“We’re getting an $80-million school for $20-million dollars. So at least from a cost stand point it certainly is beneficial,” Cassidy said. “But again it goes back to that duty of the state of Alaska to educate students and provide facilities where kids can have a safe working environment.”
Cassidy said the maintenance projects the money is for will have to be done one way or another, and if it’s not through the bond process, the borough will have to foot the entire cost of the work. Whether to issue the bonds will be a question on the municipal election ballot before borough citizens on Tuesday.
You can hear more about the bond issue online at KMXT.org, where Tuesday’s Talk of the Rock is posted.
Today on KMXT’s Talk of the Rock, host Jay Barrett speaks with Kodiak Island Borough Manager Bud Cassidy and Borough Finance Director Karl Short about the $10-million bond that will be on the October 7th municipal ballot. If passed, it will fund what are described as vital repairs to schools across the borough, and be reimbursed at a rate up to 70-percent by the State of Alaska.
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly last night decided the revised fee and fine schedule needed more work. Instead of passing it, they postponed the resolution until the next meeting, and asked that fees be brought up at their next work session.
Before that vote, Borough Manager Bud Cassidy gave a brief overview of the changes this year, including an increase in the cost of throwing away your garbage:
“This there’s probably two major changes you’ll see in the fee schedule. One is, that we’re pulling a number of the fees out of the fee schedule and we’re going to be adding to what’s called a schedule of fines. And it’s for things like fireworks, animal control; we’ll be talking to you more about that later on,” Cassidy said. “The other big thing is there is an increase in garbage fees. Everything from roll carts to dumpsters to medical waste, those kinds of things. And that’s due to our discussions we had during the borough budgeting process and the increase cost due to the cost of the constructing the lateral expansion and waste water treatment plant.”
Assemblyman Tuck Bonney singled out the borough’s disposal fees for cars.
“At $475 for cars, we’re basically getting so dog gone expensive people are just going to leave them on the side of the road or shoot them up and put them down at Pillar Creed or something,” Bonney said. “And if get to a place where it’s so expensive we’re just hurting ourselves and hurting the community because people won’t use the borough and won’t get rid of their cars. So I think there’s some things we need to talk about.”
Mayor Jerrol Friend pointed out that the car disposal fee was not increased this year, but Bonney said it was still too high. Cassidy added that most cars are taken to Nick’s Auto Wrecking and not the borough landfill.
Bonney also said the fees the borough charges for copies were too high.
Assemblyman Mel Stephens agreed that they should be looked at.
“The copying fees haven’t changed, and therefore I didn’t think about them. I do think that our copying charges should be designed to simply recover the cost of them – and that does include the cost of staff making the copies and so forth. Maybe 25-cents a copy does that, maybe not,” Stephens said. “I noticed that gee, we only charge 5-cents a copy for government and non-profit. I don’t know if that’s appropriate. I think maybe we don’t have to wait a full year, but the staff might think about whether their copying charges are appropriate.”
The assembly will take a look at the revised fee schedule next Thursday at its scheduled work session.
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly may be taking a closer look at its fireworks ordinance in the future. Despite hearing fewer noise complaints than usual over the Fourth of July weekend, Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said two complaints were sent to the borough online concerning the amount of fireworks and noise in residential areas.
“They felt like the borough’s firework policy was failing and really directed the borough to try and do something different.”
Cassidy said the borough dug into the matter a bit and discovered that despite the limited complaints the borough, the Alaska state Troopers and borough fire departments were quite busy over the holiday weekend addressing community concerns and fires caused by fireworks.
Bayside Fire Department responded to two fires out at White Sands beach and Womens Bay Fire Department was called to a fire just past the trailhead to Heitman Lake. Cassidy said the fact that folks aren’t being cautious in dry areas is concerning, and unfortunately avoiding that is what leads to problems in residential areas. Continue reading
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed a $34 million budget for FY 2015 during its regular meeting Thursday night.
Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said that revenues for the borough should be stable in 2015, but added that expenditures have increased.
“There’s increases in salary due to the classification and compensation study. There’s an additional position in the managers office, there’s a half time economic development position, or contract position.”
Also included in the budget is a larger travel budget for assembly members, which Assemblyman Aaron Griffin said is to make sure the assembly will visit the borough’s outlying villages and get more involved in what’s happening in rural communities.
“We took a look at how much contact we were having with our village communities and quite frankly we were lacking and we’ve been lacking for a long time. We are a large borough, it’s really incredible the amount of square mileage that we encompass. It takes money to get out and visit our remote communities.” Continue reading
The Kodiak Island Borough has nearly a million more dollars in the bank today, after a wildly successful land auction over the weekend. According to Borough Manager Bud Cassidy, all but two lots attracted more than the minimum bid, and netted the borough $894,000. One lot in particular, according to Cassidy, generated the most interest:
“The Monashka piece was about a five acre chunk and the minimum bid was $90,000, and it sold for $390,000. A fair amount of bidding – pretty spirited – went on. It went back and forth 59 times and was finally sold to a guy named Dave Townsend.”
The two lots in Chiniak sold for their minimum price, $40,000 and $50,000 respectively. The five lots in Bell’s Flats all sold for more than the minimum asking price. Cassidy says the strong response was positive sign.
“I think this interest showed us that not just the borough, but the city, Native corporations – there’s a number of private land owners as well that own a fair amount of property in town and this should wake everyone up to make them understand there really is some pent up demand in the community.”
He said the borough is preparing more properties for sale, and the next batch should be closer to town. Continue reading