This past Thursday’s Borough Assembly work session packed the room with an overflow crowd as two major items of civic interest were discussed: the Otmeloi paving phantasmagoria and the Leisnoi Corporation 17(b) easements.
Considering the former, the State of Alaska has now sent the Borough a Memorandum of Agreement that requires the Borough’s signature if the state is to go forward with paving Otmeloi Way. (As one recalls, at the last regular Borough assembly meeting, the assembly voted 4 to 3 to go forward with this project.) Because federal funds in part will fund this project, the paved road must be maintained by the 856 property accounts comprising Service District No. 1 (which is solely a road-service district). And, of course, the road is designed to be substandard (less than 3” of asphalt for the top, wear course — the common Kodiak standard).
Since Otmeloi Way is a primary route to North Star elementary school, the assembly has opined that the general public, not just residents of Service District No. 1, should pay to maintain and rebuild the road when it falls short of the 20-year-life that the Fed’s require for their funding. (Right, just like Mission Lake is used by all of Kodiak; however, it’s only the 16 properties in the Mission Lake Tidegate Service District that provide funding for the tidegate). And as an aside, because maintaining asphalt roadways is so expensive, other Kodiak road service districts that have asphalt paving to maintain but insufficient funds, have just allowed the paving to fail. But if the 856 property owners of Road Service District No. 1 have the millions of dollars in property taxes to support maintaining and repaving Otmeloi Way, by all means let’s go for it!
And, of course, there is the fact that the Borough-owned public lands to the north of Otmeloi Way were incorporated into Service District No. 1 by voters in the 2016 general election … for the obvious reason that future development of this parcel is contemplated. So the 856 properties of Service District No. 1 are paying for the future development of this area – that will generate additional revenue to … (you guessed it) the Borough!
One wonders what would happen if in this fall’s general election, residents of Service District No. 1 were to vote not to be assessed for paving Otmeloi Way but to put such financing on the backs of the Borough assembly using Borough funds to fund this project. Best quess? This project would die, as $8 million to fund 0.8 mile of roadway, and in a substandard fashion, is ridiculous (at least to many of us).
And, when the state’s draft MOA came before the Assembly last week, the Assembly was firmly against sections that would require the Borough to pay for this or that (example: change orders) if other funding were not available. In short, if the Borough is in any way is required to provide Borough funds for this project, it’s a no-go.
All of which, of course, is just my opinion.