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The Consolidation Cold War cools down for the Summer

Kodiak city council deliberating. (Photo by Mitch Borden/KMXT)
Kodiak city council deliberating. (Photo by Mitch Borden/KMXT)

The ongoing effort of the Borough Assembly to consolidate the borough and city governments may slow down for the summer. The City Council is preparing to table the discussion until after the summer, but it is still looking at tactics that they can apply towards rebuffing the consolidation effort.

The borough formed the consolidation committee in 2019, and since then, it has made recommendations about naming a consolidated government and what services it would provide.

In a Kodiak City Council work session Tuesday night, Mayor Pat Branson discussed a possible future public information campaign and a resolution outlining the city’s case against the Borough’s consolidation committee. 

“It’s a public information campaign and where the city is, where this consolidation committee is, and build from that and maybe culminate in a resolution that might be similar to the one from 1989 that you have in your packet,” Branson said.

The document she is referring to is a City Council resolution from three decades ago outlining the city’s position against consolidation- a reminder that this dispute has been ongoing for a generation.

The City Council maintains that the Borough hasn’t done its due diligence in investigating consolidation, and the Borough Consolidation Committee contends that consolidating will make for a more efficient local government.

Councilmember Terry Haines agreed with the sentiment to table the consolidation committee discussion until after the summer, but called openly for a statement challenging the grounds on which consolidation is being considered.

“I think I agree with putting a hold on any participation on our part. But I wonder if it might be worth our while to simply issue a very simple statement, in which we simply say, as you have issued before, we (don’t) have anything against consolidation per se, but that they should follow the mandate in their advisory ballot, which is- they’re supposed to be evaluating the pros, cons, harms and benefits of consolidation,” Haines said.

While local government meetings tend to ease up in the summer months, it is clear that the consolidation cold war between city and borough is still running hot.