dollar bills closeupThe Petersburg Borough Assembly Monday discussed items they wanted to bring up with the state legislators in an upcoming trip to Juneau. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:
Three assembly members are traveling to Alaska’s capital city this month–Mayor Mark Jensen, Vice Mayor Cindi Lagoudakis, and Assemblyman Bob Lynn. At the meeting, the assembly came up with seven issues for them to bring up during their trip: local harbors, land selection, Petersburg-Kake access road funding allocation, KFSK funding, support for the ferry system, communities jail contract funding, and the condition of medical facilities in the region.

The borough has been anticipating a potential reduction in state funding for jail operations. Chief of Police Kelly Swihart told the assembly that operating money was still up in the air.

“We’re hearing some positive inklings but it’s still very much up in the air,” Swihart said. “I know the Chiefs of Police Association is getting ready to draft a letter with some funding suggestions and they’re gathering all of the information from across the state to put that letter together so any support we could get there would be appreciated.”

The assembly has been keeping its eyes on $37 million dollars in state money for the Kake Access road project. After four years, the project is still in the planning phase. If that money should get re-appropriated, Petersburg would like to keep some of it close to home.

“We have two harbor projects, the Papkes Landing Dock and the Kupreanof Dock that need to be completely overhauled at the tune of about $1.2 million a piece,” said Assemblyman Kurt Wolheuter. “So, two and a half million towards those.”

The state has expressed interest in transferring those two state owned facility and another remote one to Petersburg.

The assembly knows the probability of getting capital projects funded is not likely with the state’s budget situation. But Wohlhueter was hopeful that if the Kake road money was reconsidered by the State that some could also go to the borough’s number one priority, renovating the police station and municipal building.

“If this municipal building falls into the criteria of energy savings or energy cost savings if we can get three million for that, I’d like to have the resolution that says that we do have a plan for 5.5 million dollar IF it’s going to disappear from our district to go someplace else.”

Assembly woman Cindi Lagoudakis spoke on two regional issues of concern, cuts to the ferry system and the inadequate medical facilities in the region.

“How we’re going to address that and fund that especially in view of reduced transportation options out of our community in the upcoming years?” she asked.

As for KFSK, the state is proposing a 27 percent budget cut for the next fiscal year. That’s follows a cut of 18 percent last year. Besides addressing it on the Juneau trip, the assembly also unanimously passed a resolution that asks the Legislature to consider less severe cuts to the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission.