The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly wants all of its members present to vote on a controversial proposal to expand roll carts and curbside garbage pickup to areas outside city limits, so present members postponed a vote slated for the regular meeting Thursday.

Assembly member Jerrol Friend was excused from the meeting for personal leave.

The public hearing on the roll cart expansion drew a crowd of more than 40 to the assembly chambers, with a majority of people giving testimony in opposition to the expansion. 

A majority of the written testimony sent to the assembly before the public hearing also opposed the new roll cart areas that roughly cover Mission Road toward Spruce Cape, Woodland Acres, and the Beaver Lake and Island Lake areas.

Joining those in advising caution with the expansion was Larry Van Daele, area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who read a letter prepared by representatives of public safety departments on the road system who are on the front lines in dealing with interactions between people and bears. 

“Any expansion of roll cart service to outlying areas would infringe on our defensive perimeter and reduce our effectiveness to manage bears and protect public safety,” Van Daele read.

The public safety officials recommended all expansion areas get bear-resistant carts if the expansion goes forward.

When it came time for the assembly to vote, the six members were split evenly on the question.

Against the new roll cart areas were assembly members Dave Kaplan, Louise Stutes and Judy Fulp.

“It is very clear that the majority of residents do not want this,” Kaplan said.

Referring to a map of the expansion, Kaplan said it never made sense to add roll carts in the expansion areas.

Assembly members making comments in favor of the expansion were Chris Lynch, Carol Austerman and Sue Jeffrey. 

“I have a huge driveway,” Austerman said. “When I got the roll cart I thought, ‘This is going to be horrible.’ And you know what, It’s not. It was change and I had to adapt to it.

“I am very supportive of roadside pickup, because one of these day I certainly hope we are going to have roadside recycling pickup as well,” she said.

With a split vote, Stutes moved to delay the vote until the full assembly could be present to address the issue.

When the vote for delay came down to a tie, Borough Mayor Jerome Selby at first used his tie-breaking vote against delay to hear further assembly member comments and then voted for delay of the decision.

Jeffrey tried to counter what she called misinformation in the public comments.

“This in no way has been a done deal,” she said. “This is not a mere formality and I’m sorry that people would think that.”

Jeffrey refuted the idea that the waste disposal contract punishes those who use dumpsters as opposed to those in the city limits who pay lower garbage fees.

“It’s 24/7 service and it simply costs more,” Jeffrey said.

Selby said the misinformation about the landfill and the garbage program was disheartening after all of the publicity that has taken place.

“For anyone that has a medical program and needs assistance, call Alaska Waste,” Selby said. “They have a program … that if you have an issue and you can’t handle your roll cart they will accommodate you and take care of it for you.”  

“I appreciate everyone coming,” Jeffrey said. “And even if there is misinformation, let’s keep on talking so we can clear it up, because that’s the only way we can proceed in a healthy manner in this community.”

Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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