The Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak has put in a formal request to the City of Kodiak to add more city-owned roads to its road inventory. The Sun’aq Tribe is looking to bolster its collection, so it can apply for transportation grants from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to conduct road improvements.
Sun’aq Tribe’s Transportation Coordinator Randy Boskofsky attended a City Council work session Tuesday to formally present the request and answer any questions.
“I’m here asking permission to add 50 more (city-owned) routes this year, for a total of 100 new routes to be added this year –– including 50 from the borough. I’ve already received permission from the borough to add their 50 routes,” Boskofsky said. “If I get permission from the city, that will put our road mileage submission up to 15.6 miles this year.”
According to Boskofsky, in 2007, Mission Road became the first city-owned road to be added to the Tribe’s inventory. A letter sent from Boskofsky to City Manager Mike Tvenge, which is available to the public in the work session packet, states that the city agreed to add a further 15 routes to the Tribe’s inventory in 2018.
Boskofsky said that the Tribe hasn’t yet been awarded any BIA transportation grants for road improvements, but by bolstering its road inventory it stands a better chance to receive funding in the future.
The letter states: “By adding more routes to our inventory, we will be able to access TTP Funds though agreements with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Allowable activities under the TTP are street lighting, signage and road maintenance activities that benefit the City’s road improvement efforts.”
The letter notes that including a road in a Tribal transportation facility inventory “does not limit the owner of the road nor relinquish any ownership rights.”
Additionally, the Tribe entered into a memorandum of agreement with the city last year to help pay for maintenance of some of the routes.
“We received $7,500 in support for maintenance activities, that we used for Mission Road for asphalt patch-paving,” said Tvenge at the work session.
The Tribe also entered into a maintenance MOA with Kodiak Island Borough and provided $7,500 for the routes it approved for the Tribes inventory. A full list of the routes that the Tribe is looking to add to its inventory can be found in the work session packet.
“All federally-recognized tribes in Alaska have cooperative agreements with the owners of the roads in their Tribal Transportation Facility Inventories, which collaboration to seek to improve roads of mutual benefit. The STK’s TTP works to strengthen our collaborative efforts and to continue to work with the City of Kodiak to benefit our community,” wrote Boskofsky in the letter.
At the work session, Tvenge said that, in order to authorize the addition of city-owned roads to the Sun’aq Tribes road inventory, an item would have to be placed on the agenda of the regular meeting for the City Council to vote on.
In general, council members did not voice objections to the request. City Mayor Pat Branson noted the mutual benefit that the agreement could have for both parties.
“The point is, Sun’aq Tribe has access to these funds and we (the city) don’t,” Branson said. “So it adds to our coffers in a way that is generating revenue that we can’t access.
“I think that any time that any agency, especially a municipality, can partner with a Tribe it’s beneficial to both.”