The reception, held Wednesday evening, gave city and borough elected officials a chance to meet with state legislators while enjoying fresh seafood from Kodiak, a reminder of the importance of the city and borough to Alaska’s economy.
“It’s a well-known event that has been going on for a number of years,” Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson said. “It gives us an opportunity to meet with individual legislators and have one-on-one time. That is a real advantage.”
This year’s reception was different from ones in the past, because several Kodiak businesses sponsored the event and sent representatives.
In a measure to save money when budgeting expenses last year, the borough removed funding for the reception, and the city followed suit. Together the city and borough cut $20,000 that paid for the event from their budgets.
To make up the funds, Branson and borough Mayor Jerome Selby sent a letter to community businesses and members to ask for financial support. The letter received a huge response.
“We had a lot of fish donated from canneries in town,” Branson said. “The food was great, and was certainly a draw for legislators.”
The city and borough had a table at the front door of the event with a large display of current Kodiak projects, and both mayors made a welcoming announcement and talked about the importance of fisheries to the region.
Kodiak elected officials talked about current projects with legislators as they walked by the displays.
About 300 people attended the event, and Selby said about half of the Alaska Senate and half of the Alaska House were present.
“It’s very important that communities the size of Kodiak attend events, and are able to lobby in support of projects that they have requested in the capital budget,” Kodiak city manager Aimée Kniaziowski said. “When we go down there it’s about two-thirds of the way through session, so we go and talk about our projects and why they are important to our community.”
One of the main projects the community leaders focused on was getting funds to replace Pier 3. The project is estimated to cost between $25 million and $33 million.
“Pier 3 is a critical piece of infrastructure reaching the end of useful life,” Kniaziowski said. “It is extremely expensive to replace, and well beyond what our city is capable of funding.”
Other organizations, including Koniag Inc. and Old Harbor Native Corporation, also attended the event, and talked about their needs in the community.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at email@example.com.