KODIAK — It was Christmas in July at Thursday night’s Kodiak City Council meeting as the city both gave and received financial grants.
On the giving side of things, the city council approved $116,756 in grants to city nonprofits. The move was part of the city’s annual policy to give 1 percent of general fund revenue to Kodiak charities.
On the receiving end of things, the city accepted a $6.9 million appropriation from the Alaska Legislature to fund the new Kodiak library project.
As city manager Aimée Kniaziowski explained, it was an instance in which the city got a better present than it had asked for.
“We applied in January for state grant for $6.9 million. We applied for a matching grant,” she said, “but the Legislature gave direct legislative appropriations.”
That means the city is not required to provide any funding as a condition to receive the state money. Still, the city is expected to contribute to the $13.6 million library project, of which $9.1 million has already been received. Kniaziowski said other sources of funding are also being pursued.
“We’ve got a letter out to the Rasmuson Foundation,” she said, “and the remainder would be up to the city to fund, and we’re estimating about $2 million.”
City council members were quick to praise the library project’s organizers for taking the lead in looking for grants and funding sources.
“What a difference it makes to have another group do the marching,” council member Tom Walters said. “It wouldn’t have gotten this far if it was only staff, because they have everything else to do.”
The city also approved the hiring of RISE Alaska as project manager for the library’s design phase. The contract is worth about $130,000, and Kniaziowski said RISE will help set up and manage the budget, schedule and other aspects of the project until the design is completed.
The gift-giving element of the city council’s night included extensive testimony from the public in support of the city’s contribution to public radio station KMXT. More than half a dozen people told the council how the radio station affected their lives for the better.
The outpouring of comment came partially in response to questions raised during a Tuesday work session, when city council members asked if the radio station’s move to ask for money in multiple nonprofit categories was an acceptable technique. When organizations apply for city grants, they are required to apply in at least one of four divisions. KMXT applied in both the Emergency Response Support and Adult Recreation categories.
Other nonprofits also applied under multiple categories, but it was KMXT’s application that drew more scrutiny Tuesday. Council member Charlie Davidson, who was most vocal about the inquiry, was not present at Thursday’s meeting.
Other groups also spoke up in favor of KMXT’s application. Trevor Jones of Kodiak Baptist Mission said, “Even though it competes with us, it makes for a stronger community.”
The council passed the nonprofit funding proposal unanimously, distributing slightly less than the $118,000 it had available to 17 of 18 organizations that requested funding. The sole organization that did not receive money was Kodiak Island Search and Rescue, which is awaiting 501c3 certification as a nonprofit.
Although the funding passed quickly, the council vowed to look at reforming the application process.
“I think we have to take a look at the process again, because you could put in as many as four categories,” council member John Whiddon said. “My only concern in this process is to be fair to everybody … so I do think that needs to be clear.”
In other business
• The city council voted down a proposal to change city code affecting weapon possession and discharge. The proposal was a piece of legislation left from the city’s attempted annexation of Service District No. 1 in 2005.
• Kodiak Football League was reauthorized to charge admission and sell concessions at football games in Baranof Park. A waiver is required because city code forbids sales on city land.
• Kodiak Maritime Museum, which has leased city property since 2002, was granted another one-year lease.
• The city agreed to a five-year contract extension to lease office space from the borough. The cost per square foot rose from $2.05 to $2.20, resulting in about $9,600 more in expenses, but the borough agreed to measure interior office space rather than exterior space. “I think it’s a fair compromise,” Kniaziowski said.
• Red Hook Construction was awarded an $18,500 bid to repair a spillway at Pillar Creek Dam.
• Public Works was granted permission to buy a $282,000 Cat 160M2 grader to replace a grader built in 1992.
• Island Air Service was granted a three-year lease for $24,700 at Trident Basin for a fuel facility and office space.
• The city renewed its contract for community jail services with the Alaska Department of Corrections. The state has increased the amount it pays the city for use of the jail to almost $800,000, which leaves the city paying the remaining $359,000. Kniaziowski said further negotiations seem likely to reduce the amount the city must pay.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiak
Youth Recreation Programs
Kodiak Arts Council: $2,500
Kodiak Football League: $2,500
Kodiak Girl Scouts: $2,500
Kodiak Kid Wrestling Club: $2,500
Kodiak Little League: $2,500
Kodiak Kingfishers Swim Club Inc.: $2,500
Special Olympics-Kodiak Area: $2,500
Adult Recreation Programs
Hope Community Resources Inc.: $4,618
Kodiak Arts Council: $5,000
Kodiak Kid Wrestling Club: $444
Kodiak Island Broadcasting: $5,000
Senior Citizens of Kodiak Inc.: $5,000
Special Olympics Kodiak: $2,332
Public Safety Support Programs
Brother Francis Shelter - Kodiak: $10,000
Kodiak Island Food Bank: $3,892
Kodiak Teen Court Inc.: $5,000
Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center: $10,000
Salvation Army: $5,000
Senior Citizens of Kodiak Inc.: $10,000
Emergency Response Support Programs
American Red Cross - Kodiak: $6,720
Kodiak Amateur Radio: $6,250
Kodiak Island Search and Rescue: $0
Kodiak Public Broadcasting Company: $10,000
Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center: $10,000