The Kodiak City Council seemed to find a harbor parking permit six-month trial that would work for the fishermen in the city, passing the resolution Thursday night. But the difficult-to-get-to resolution wasn’t the last word, as council members then voted to reconsider the motion, giving themselves until the March 31 regular meeting to finally hammer out a trial period.
The initial decision by the city council was similar to what they decided at their work session on Tuesday: long-term lots for St. Paul and St. Herman harbors would allow slip holders and paid-up transient vessel operators to park vehicles in the 30-day lots. Permit buyers would pay $30 for a first permit and $50 for a second vehicle each month, and the public would be able to buy permits for a section of Ramp 1 at St. Herman Harbor.
This initial decision caused Dan Miller, a Port and Harbor Advisory Board (PHAB) member and salmon fishermen, to storm from the borough assembly chambers and, with a raised voice, declare, “Thanks for not supporting the fishing fleet. That was (nonsense).”
Unlike the city council and port and harbor staff such as the harbormaster and deputy harbormaster, Miller and another PHAB member who spoke at the regular meeting wanted a one-time fee of $30 for the six-month trial period. The reasoning behind this was that not all fishermen would need the full 30 days.
“Most people who go to work at the harbor aren’t actually using those 30-day parking,” PHAB member Oliver Holm said. “A lot of us go on shorter trips — just use it intermittently — but we have to pay for 30 days under this staff proposal.”
Before the motion was reconsidered, the city council split on amending the motion to include the monthly payments, and members were still trying to discuss aspects and even throwing out alternatives, which resulted in the reconsidered motion.
“A couple of main points that we all agreed upon was that we wanted to make sure it wasn’t a parking space for derelict vehicles or people that were maybe fishing up here during the summer and just left their vehicles here for the whole year,” city council member Tom Walters said. “I like the idea of a kiosk. Only certain people with permits could use those different parking spaces.”
Walters said then fishermen could pay for only the days they are out fishing.
“I don’t want to be onerous to the fishermen because they’re already paying for slips and paying out the nose anyways for all kinds of government regulation and permits, but I thought a dollar a day for a place to park wouldn’t be onerous,” Walters said.
Still, the city council’s proposed amended resolution was seen as something that could have worked.
“My understanding is this was brought up a year and a half ago or so to find out about the derelict cars that are parked next to the harbormaster’s office,” city council member Pat Branson said. “Indeed, if that is the case, it seems like having this amendment for this monthly fee of $30 would be a better way to find out within that six months, and have the enforcement in place, where the derelict cars are coming from, who owns them and getting rid of them.
“The other thing is there’s a cost to do business here,” Branson added. “If we have a one-time fee of $30 for six months even on the trial basis, that’s not going to pay for anything.”
She also wondered why, if there was an issue with wasting money on a full 30-day parking permit, PHAB didn’t suggest other options.
“I’m just wondering why the Port and Harbor Advisory Board did not look for a 10-day parking permit,” Branson said.
The plan is to have two council members, the city manager, port and harbor staff and PHAB members meet to figure out a solution while focusing on the key areas of enforcement, why this is being done, and to consider all citizens in the downtown parking area.
“The point is we want to take this up again at the next regular meeting,” Walters said. “We don’t want to make the changes right now because we want to study it and talk with the two sides. I don’t like to have a rift between the Ports and Harbor Advisory Board and ports and harbor, and I think there’s a good compromise.”
In other business, the new library project received a big boost.
The city council generally adopts one supplemental budget amendment each fiscal year, meant to adjust for operating funds and project funds both revenues and expenses that weren’t known when the budget was originally adopted.
The second reading for the $6,101,809 amendment for this fiscal year 2011 was passed, and the size of the amendment is consistent in general with past supplemental budgets.
This budget amendment includes over $1 million in additional expenses involving the new jail, and $350,000 for the environmental assessment for the Emergency Operations Center and a commitment to the library project.
“Projects and expenses and revenues of note are the library, an appropriation of $1 million from the general fund,” Kodiak city manager Aimée Kniaziowski said. “This would keep the new library project on track. It would allow for the development of a more comprehensive funding plan and the initial pre-design work that would be the next step in this.”
Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.