Petersburg Pilot -

State and borough to barter over dock facilities?

 


The Petersburg Borough Assembly tabled a discussion regarding the takeover from the state of several dock facilities within the borough.

In a January 21 letter, the Assembly wrote the state to request the transfer of state owned facilities Papke’s Landing, Kupreanof and Entrance Island docks to the Petersburg Borough.

In a February 11 letter from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Marc Luiken, the commissioner said he applauds the borough’s willingness to accept responsibility and stewardship for the harbor facilities. He also cited the state’s handover of the borough’s middle, north and south harbors along with checks in 2003 and 2006 totaling more than $6 million to assist in those harbor’s operation and maintenance.

“The state’s financial situation has changed with the declining price of oil and we are unable to make those kinds of cash offers,” Luiken wrote.

A week later ADOT harbor engineer Mike Lukshin wrote a letter offering the borough $732,883 to take over the three harbor facilities.

At the Borough Assembly’s Feb. 22 meeting, Mayor Mark Jensen was less than excited about the offer.

“During our comprehensive plan when we had the engineer assess just the two facilities, Papke’s and Kupreaonf, the total bill to fix those two facilities was $2.5 million,” Jensen said.

Mike Bangs expressed a similar concern earlier in the meeting during the public comment period.

“I would encourage the assembly to wait on this, to not take any action,” Bangs said. “There’s a lot of unanswered question and they aren’t offering enough money to fix the docks let alone maintain them in the future,” Bangs said. “It would be really hard to figure out how to fund maintenance and operation of them.”

Jensen, along with the rest of the assembly, was concerned about whether or not the borough would get the land with the infrastructure.

Jensen said Lushkin told him that if the borough didn’t accept the offer, and if the docks fell into disrepair, the state would remove them.

“Two of these facilities (Papke’s and Kupreanof docks), it would be very important to keep them in place but how do we afford to do it?” Jensen asked. “How do we come up with a plan and take these and fund them?”

Assembly member Cindi Lagoudakis said there are too many unknowns at this point to make a decision.

“I think the state needs to sort some of this out and maybe it would be best to table this discussion, not say no but leave it out there until they can get us more definitive information,” Lagoudakis said.

 

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