The City Council passed an amendment to the city’s contract with the Alaska Department of Corrections for running the Kodiak Jail with a reduction in funds. The council also moved forward an ordinance to establish a leash-free dog park.
The city and DOC are three years into a five-year contract, and the state had sought a renegotiation of the contract since they received a reduction in funding for regional and community jails for fiscal year 2016, according to a city staff memo.
The city would get $991,000 to operate the jail from the state, a 30-percent reduction, said city manager Aimée Kniaziowski at Thursday’s council meeting.
“We still would need to subsidize the operations there,” Kniaziowski said. “We do have some local people that are arrested on local charges, but most of the inmates in our jail are there arrested and being held under state charges.”
According to a memo to council from Kniaziowski, the city will see a $450,000 shortfall, considerably more than the fiscal year 2015 deficit of $142,000.
Despite the reductions, Kniaziowski said the city “lucked out.”
“Given the fact that there have been many major cuts for FY16, it’s not ideal but certainly we’re in a better spot than I thought we might be,” she said.
The dog park ordinance, which will be up for a public hearing and final passage at the next meeting, would designate a fenced-in portion of East Addition Park as an area where people could let their dogs run off leash.
Currently, city code requires dogs within city limits to be leashed at all times.
City manager Aimée Kniaziowski said the park should not add any liability to the city, and neighbors in the area did not have concerns.
“I think it’ll be a nice addition to the community,” Kniaziowski said.
The five council members in attendance voted unanimously to pass the ordinance in the first reading.
The council also authorized a new lease with the Kodiak Island Borough for office space. The new lease includes an additional three adjoining offices and a conference room taken from space the KIB School District vacated.
The total cost for office space is now $124,767, approximately $35,000 per year more than the city paid without the extra space, according to a memo from staff.
“These extra offices do keep employees from having to double up into the same space,” Kniaziowski said. “Those are dorm rooms, and they’re not set up really well to be office space areas.”
The council also postponed a 30-year lease for a lot at the Kodiak Municipal Airport. The council wished to hire an aviation appraiser to ensure the city is charging an appropriate amount for land at the airport.
The council also postponed a resolution authorizing grants to nonprofits, approved the submittal of a grant application for money to replace the Channel Transient Float, approved the purchase of a grader, and awarded a bid for sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs to Unitemp Mechanical Insulation.
Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.