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Feb 17 2015
City Council Looks at Big Picture in Federal Funding Requests
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
1.32 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    At last week's Kodiak City Council meeting, the annual federal wish list was approved. As City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski explains, the request for capital funding help from Washington D.C. was in a different form, on the advice of city lobbyist Brad Gillman.
    "He and I have been back and forth on what would be the best approach for the coming year at the federal level. And so what you see before you and what we've talked about is it's much more of a list of issues that we'd advocate for rather than the traditional list of capital projects."
    She said such an approach still reflects the city's needs and has been successful before.
    "And I think it's important that we rely on Brad's expertise and advice. We were successful if you'll recall, we spent a couple years requesting considerations for set aside funding for small ports in the Pacific Ocean Division in Alaska. That was successful, and this is a similar approach, so."
    And under than plan of broader advocacy, Kniaziowski said transportation funding is especially important to the city.
    "Priority number one on the resolution is advocating for a consideration of our delegation to support a set-aside type funding so that it could go to smaller communities for road repairs and sidewalk repairs and so forth. And we all know we're trying to get money to repair, rehabilitate Mill Bay Road. So what that first priority is sort of a general statement of some set-aside funding and then it identified those transportation-related projects that have been our top three projects for this coming year, certainly with the state."
    Councilman John Whiddon said he was pleased with the CIP request approach.
    "It's one of the first ones I've seen with all three or four, however many requests, weren't fund-based requests. I think this really reflects the needs of the community. The Karluk Lake enrichment project which we've been talking about to our delegation for the last coupel years now, as has the borough, is really critical to the West Side setnetters. The sea lion impact on the ferry dock is really a great issue to bring forward to our delegation. Also, the two EPA issues I think are criticle to maintain the viability of our harbor and our fishing fleet," he said. "So I really applaud you for this."
    The resolution passed unanimously. 
 
Feb 16 2015
FV Savannah Ray Grounds in Storm; Crew Saved
Monday, 16 February 2015
Matt Miller/KTOO
    Four people were rescued when their boat went aground in Chiniak Bay early Monday morning.
    Crew of the 80-foot fishing vessel Savannah Ray turned on their 406 megahertz EPRIB and issued a mayday call when they went high and dry at about 1:30 a-m.
    The four people donned survival suits and prepared a life raft. A Coast Guard H-60 helicopter from Air Station Kodiak hoisted them aboard just after three o’clock this morning.
    Two of the boat’s crew were taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment of unspecified injuries. The other two refused treatment.
    Fortyfive knot winds were reported, with 11-foot seas, rain, and one mile visibility.
    Chief Petty Officer Robert Luna, watchstander at the Coast Guard’s Command Center in Juneau, says it hasn’t been determined what caused the vessel to go aground. Another helicopter was scheduled to fly over the grounded vessel to check for pollution. 
 
Feb 13 2015
State Budget Cuts Could Cost Kodiak Jail $1.2M Yearly
Friday, 13 February 2015
1.25 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    Effects of the State of Alaska's budget shortfall could be felt sooner rather than later in Kodiak, if the Department of Corrections' proposed budget moves forward unchanged. In it are no funds for any of the 15 communities where the state contracts for jail space. 
That includes Kodiak, which at 24-beds, is the largest jail in the state that would be affected, according to Chief Rhonda Wallace. She said the city is in year two of a five year contract with the Department of Corrections, but she's not sure if the contract is iron-clad if the state really wanted to get out of it.
    “If they're looking eliminate funding, you know, I guess they could possibly back out of that contract. But we're hoping it doesn't go that way.”
    She said the city is looking at a loss of $1.2-million per year if it looses the state contract, which would likely put a crimp in her budgeting for next fiscal year.
    “We would definitely have to come up with a contingency plan. Not looking forward to it. I'm hoping that Juneau will pull through and not do this. It not only affe3cts our community, but affects the inmates we do have here. Taking away that funding would definitely drop the amount of inmate we could house because we're not longer responsible then for Department of Correction inmates.”
    At that point, the state would likely have to start flying inmates back and forth from Anchorage to make court appearances here in Kodiak.
    “Our facility is a 30-day holding facility. So there's the ability to be able to hold people on the island where their families can still come see them. There's not such an impact to the individual. And then if they have a sentence that goes beyond the 30 days, then they can be transported off island. But it would cost the state quite a bit if they had to then transport all these people because they're state custody.”
    Some smaller communities, like Haines, depend on the Community Jail program money to fund half their police departments. Wallace says that's not the case in Kodiak, and a potential cut wouldn't affect other KPD divisions.
    “So everything that the 1.2-million that they give us goes to take care of training and travel, supplies, the repair and maintenance of the facility, the wages and salaries of the employees, rental equipment. Everything that is associated with the jail.”
    She said the question of staff cuts to employees in the jail would depend on what the city council wanted to do, and how any contingency plan – if needed – works out. 
 
Feb 13 2015
Air Station Crew Hoists Injured Crewman
Friday, 13 February 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew safely hoisted an injured 36-year-old man from an American Seafoods Company fishing vessel about 100 miles north of Cold Bay yesterday (Thursday).
    The man, whose name the Coast Guard did not release, was reported to have lost two fingers in a steel door on board the 252-foot factory trawler American Triumph.
    Weather conditions were mild at the time of the hoist and the Jayhawk crew were able to transport the injured man back to Cold Bay for awaiting medical services.
    The Jayhawk and its crew were forward deployed to Cold Bay in support of the winter Bering Sea fisheries. Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Watson said a timely medieval like this illustrates the importance of forward deploying helicopters around Alaska. 
 
Feb 12 2015
Council Looks to Add $880K to Budget Spending
Thursday, 12 February 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    When the Kodiak City Council meets tonight, the new fire chief will be given the oath of office. Jim Mullican was given the job permanently last week. He had been acting chief since Rome Kamai was suddenly suspended in December.
    The council will also hold a public hearing and a vote on the supplemental appropriation to the current fiscal year's budget. A supplemental budget is to make up for changes in income or spending since the budget was finalized last year. This year's one supplemental is for $879,753. 
    The council will also approve its budget goals for the new fiscal year that begins July 1st. 
    A resolution supporting the Alaska Municipal League's request to the state that it commit to $60-million annually to the Revenue Sharing Program will also be considered, though the vote may prove futile given the billions of dollars the state is short this year.
    And finally, in executive session, the council will give City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski her evaluation and contract review.
    The meeting starts at 7:30 in the assembly chambers of the borough building, and will be broadcast live here on KMXT. 
 
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