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Sep 13 2013
Another Tight Budget Year Predicted for Alaska PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 September 2013

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            Last night the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got its first taste of what the budget climate might be during the legislative session this year. During the work session the assembly spent a good chunk of time reviewing potential options for its state legislative capital improvement projects priority list, and heard from Borough Lobbyist Mark Hickey about what the atmosphere in Juneau is starting to look like. 
            “Based on using leg finance information and taking into account Senate Bill 21, the oil tax change, and the impact it will have on revenue at least to start with, I think the projection used in the department of revenue’s most recent forecast for oil, the projection is that we could have a deficit of a $1 billion for the current fiscal year, before the legislature starts talking about, for the next budget, get rid of $1 billion. So you’re looking at significant pressure, continued pressure, on budget reductions and the honest reality is there’s only so much that can be done on the operating side. I mean that’s where they’ll look first, but it ultimately becomes a capital, where you see that problem. And they’re going to have to take from savings just to handle, for example, the current year’s problem, and in all likelihood that’s probably the option.”
             Kodiak’s Representative Alan Austerman, who co-chairs the House Finance Committee, was also present during last night’s work session and gave his two cents on the state’s budget.   
             “The dollar value that the state of Alaska has to spend now is less than it’s been in the past. So we’re going to continue to see a ratcheting down of our budgets. I expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion being cut from the budget this year compared to last year. That’s the governor’s five year plan, to cut the budget back. And the legislature has bought into that. We’ve got to get control of what we’re doing.”

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Sep 12 2013
Rep. Young Brings Up Sustainable Fishing Certification at Hearing PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 September 2013

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    Alaska seafood marketers and other state officials met a week ago with executives from Walmart corporation about its policy of not sourcing Alaska salmon because it does not have a Marine Stewardship Council endorsement. Alaska Congressman Don Young brought up certification schemes such as MSC’s, during a Natural Resources Committee hearing this week.
    Young questioned fishing industry officials and scientists about the certifications. He asked Rod Moore, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association about his experience with the MSC process.
    “The decision by somebody to go with Marine Stewardship Council certification, I’ll say MSC for short, is really an economic one. For example, we find that to be able to sell seafood to Europe, you got to have MSC certification,” Moore said. “That is changing now, but for many years that was what had to be done. It was sort of, in some ways, an economic blackmail. You had to do it.”
    Young agreed it was blackmail and asked Moore why the North Pacific Fishery Management Council couldn’t certify the fisheries.
    “They’re saying our salmon is unsustainable. Now that’s Beeeee-elbows,” Young said. “That’s blackmail. Now why don’t we have our own?”

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Sep 12 2013
Animal Control May Return to Borough in October PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 September 2013

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            During Wednesday’s joint work session the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and Kodiak City Council briefly discussed animal control outside of city limits and what needs to be done before the service is implemented.
            For many years the borough shared in the cost of the city’s animal control service, expanding it beyond city limits. But a few years ago the borough decided to defund the shared service, prompting numerous public comments from borough residents about the need for animal control. This caused the assembly to include it in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. That budget was passed months ago, and Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said the animal control contract with the city is still in the works. 
           “The police chief, who the animal control officer reports to, Aimee and I have sat down, negotiated a contract, sent it off to our attorney for his review. I did receive it back and you should be seeing it at your next borough assembly meeting.”
            City Manager Aimee Kniaziowksi added that when the assembly defunded that original agreement, the city didn’t rehire the officer that patrolled areas outside of city limits.  
           “So we’re in the process, I believe an individual has been hired and will be trained up and will be ready to go, probably in October. And we’ll be having the council authorize acceptance of that contract as well, as soon as the assembly has given it their approval.”
            This year the assembly included $86,000 in the budget to put toward animal control.
 

 
Sep 12 2013
The Alaska Fisheries Report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 September 2013

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Coming up this week, Walmart officials seem sound open to accepting Alaska salmon – even without MSC approval; Bristol Bay gillnetting permits are increasing in prices, even though this summer didn’t live up to expectations, and the fella who’s towed more grounded fishing boats off the rocks than almost anyone, sells his company – but doesn’t retire. All that and how bloggers might help salmon sales. We had help from KDLG’s Mike Mason in Dillingham, KUCB’s Lauren Rosenthal in Unalaska and KCHU’s Tony Gorman in Valdez.

 
Sep 12 2013
City, Borough Gear Up For NPFMC Meetings PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 September 2013

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            Last night the Kodiak Borough Assembly and City Council met for a joint work session to discuss, among other things, fish. Specifically, bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery. The two governing bodies were gearing up for the matter being a topic during the upcoming North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s meeting at the end of the month.
            The management council will be reviewing eight proposals for management of bycatch in the groundfish trawl industry, five of which deal with areas of interest for Kodiak. Assemblywoman Chris Lynch said the local fisheries work group heard presentations about those proposals earlier this summer and decided that more analysis and consideration needs to be given to all five that are specific to Kodiak.
Former member of the management council and current Kodiak fishery advisor, Denby Lloyd, presented a letter that the fisheries work group drafted for the city council and borough assembly to send to the management council. The letter details the need for further analysis on all five proposals.
           “The group Monday decided that at this point it would be of value for the community express to the North Pacific Council that all of the pertinent proposals in front of the North Pacific Council on this issue ought to be further developed and analyzed.”

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