Burned timber

On a riverbank, green ferns can be seen growing amongst blackened trees burned in the Twin Creeks Fire on borough-owned land in Chiniak. The orange mark on the tree in the background is roughly 100 feet away from the stream, roughly the boundary around anadromous streams to protect them. May 18, 2016. Julie Herrmann/Kodiak Daily Mirror

During a discussion Thursday about buying trees to plant on burned and logged borough-owned land, several Kodiak Island Borough Assembly members suggested coupling the contract with one for the planting.

“I would presume that whoever we hire to put the trees in the ground, that part of their contract would include … that they manage it, because I want the vans to get here when they need them,” assembly member Dan Rohrer said. “There’s just a lot of logistics.”

“I absolutely recommend that this be paired with a single contract to reseed if we’re going to do this, so that we’re not buying the product and then having to manage the product and then having to coordinate,” assembly member Kyle Crow said. “I really think it’s a bad way to go for us to go ahead. I’ve been involved in too many projects where both contractors are pointing fingers at each other.”

But the trees are a sole source contract. Borough manager Michael Powers said the circumstances of the tree purchase meet the narrow criteria for a sole source contract. The borough attorney affirmed that, but a contract for replanting likely would not pass muster for sole sourcing.

The tree purchase decision has to be made soon, but a bidding process to select a planter will take months, so the contracts couldn’t be paired from the start.

How the assembly will come down on the decision to replant at the Aug. 18 meeting remains up in the air. Rebecca Skinner said she would be absent next week, leaving six assembly members to vote on the issue, which could lead to a tie vote.

Larry LeDoux and Rohrer have said they support replanting, while Dennis Symmons has said he opposes it and Crow seemed to lean toward not replanting the whole area. He has said the money could go toward fixing a deficit in the borough budget.

Symmons added that he will make a motion at the next meeting to cap the budget, likely at around $100,000.

“I like the fact of doing some planting,” Symmons said, mentioning just planting around homes.

The current contract is for a little over $120,000. The assembly budgeted $315,000 for the replanting.

During the work session, the assembly also removed an item amending the uniform plumbing code and national electric code from the meeting agenda saying they wished to wait until after a joint work session with the Kodiak City Council on Aug. 23.

After the work session, the assembly reconvened their special meeting for the clerk’s evaluation. Members took no action afterward.

Contact staff reporter Julie Herrmann at julie@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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