Assembly Moves Bond Issue to Ballot
Friday, 08 August 2014
Kodiak voters will face a ballot measure related to bond issues during the October election. The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly approved putting it on the ballot during its regular meeting last night. If passed this fall, the borough would be allowed to issue general obligation bonds worth more than $10 million to finance renovations to various school facilities throughout the borough, including the villages.
The bonds could be eligible for a 70 percent reimbursement from the state, which is why Assemblyman Frank Peterson said he would vote in favor of pushing the matter forward.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen from year to year with the legislative appropriations. It’s gone from 90/10 to 70/30, next year it could be 60/40 or nothing. It could be 50/50 or it could be nothing. I think it’s important that we take advantage of this opportunity while we have the chance. To have the state pay for $8 million of a $10 million project seems like a no brainer to me because these are projects that we’re going to have to pay for anyway. So let’s do it.”
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch said she would support the ordinance because the borough has an obligation to maintain its buildings.
“And it’s far more cost effective to do
maintenance then to wait and replace entire facilities without doing
any maintenance the next ten years.”
She said it makes sense to
move it forward to a vote of the people and if it doesn’t go through,
the borough will need to come up with different ways to pay for the
maintenance projects included in the bond issuance.
Mel Stephens said he would not be voting for the ordinance, even though
he recognized that last night’s vote would merely put the matter before
the community for a final decision.
“That frankly does not assuage my serious concerns about
where we’re going with this. Id o not think we are ready to present this
matter to the voters because I do not think it has been properly
thought through and I do not trust the financial figures which staff has
brought forward in an attempt to justify this ordinance. I understand
and I agree with the statement that the borough needs to properly
maintain its facilities. The problem with that statement is that it’s a
platitude with which no one is going to disagree, but that platitude
cannot serve as a justification for spending any particular amount on
replacement or renewal projects, in any particular year, or for
determining whether or not it makes sense to go into dept to finance a
particular project or projects.”
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin
said he understood why Stephens wanted to get a “hard lock down” on the
financial picture of these bonds.
“That being said, we do have some severe problems in our facilities
that need to be addressed. And I would not call having buckets in the
hallways, which is what is currently happening at East Elementary School
because we have a leaky roof there, where we have kids having to dodge
these things in the hallway, elementary school kids, we have a fungal
growth in the roof line because there’s water soaking through and that
to me is an emergency. You know we held off on it this year. We patched
it. But it’s something that needs to be done. All of these projects are
important. T Here’s close to 30 of them that are necessary projects
among all 13 of our schools. ”
Griffin voted in favor of the
second reading of the ordinance, as did five other assembly members.
Stephens was the lone dissenter on the matter.
If approved this fall the matter will return to the assembly in a resolution format for final approval.