Mayor Mark Jensen noted the docks and boat ramps remain the property of the state, despite some past talks to transfer some of them to the local government. Kensinger said the planning would be a starting point and could help the borough land grant money through a federal infrastructure bill. The design work would be paid for out of the borough’s property development fund. That’s money set aside to purchase or improve land or buildings. “That’s concerning to me I guess if we don’t have permission to go work on, to apply this design to the facility if we don’t have rights to it,” Jensen said.
Assembly member Dave Kensinger proposed paying up to 40-thousand dollars for conceptual plans. Those would look into upgrades or replacement of the breakwater at the Banana Point boat ramp on southern Mitkof Island and the dock at Papke’s Landing about 10 miles south of Petersburg. The assembly’s changes mostly move money around from one planned use to another, or use some savings, but don’t add to the spending in the general fund.
“I think anybody that uses those facilities realizes they’re very important for the economic viability of the area,” Kensinger said. “They’re very important for people that recreate in the area and they’re not exclusively used by any particular part of the community but they’re used by the entirety of the borough.” The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July puts borough spending is at 9.7 million dollars in the general fund, up just slightly from the past year. And like this past year, this budget also uses reserves to balance expenses and revenue. The borough built those savings up by using federal emergency aid for the salaries of first responders and other borough workers during the pandemic.
Kensinger suggested that budget direction and thought it is a good use of that cruise ship revenue. “This is a real easy sell to those companies because their passengers need to use the restroom,” he said. “And right now as had happened in past years a lot of the restroom use has fallen upon the local businesses in town and they end up absorbing the cost of cleaning their restrooms and supplying those supplies. And by having a designated location that’s right in the center of town, I think you’re going to eliminate a lot of the conflicts that have occurred over trying to find a place to use the restroom in the town.” Another budget change was to earmark revenue from the borough’s marine passenger vessel fee for cleaning two public restroom trailers this summer. There’s around $50,000 in that fund, which comes from a charge on cruise ships docking here.
The assembly also agreed to a staff request to boost the budget for sewer replacement on Ira II Street. The contract for that work goes to local company Rock N Road. The vote was 5-1 in favor of that change with Jensen voting no and Jeigh Stanton Gregor not at the meeting.
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