Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Sewer plant at top of borough's wish list


The Haines Borough’s capital requests “wish list” to the Alaska Legislature for the 2015 fiscal year looks about the same as last year’s list, with a slight bit of rearranging.

At its Dec. 10 meeting, the assembly approved the 13-item list, which contains what the assembly and administration believe to be the most pressing local projects in need of funding.

Though most of the list’s projects are the same, a different ranking reflected a change in the borough’s priorities.

For example, the borough’s top-rated project, the wastewater treatment facility upgrades, moved into the top slot this year, bumping phase one of the Lutak Dock upgrades down to number two.

In a memo penned by interim manager Julie Cozzi, executive assistant to the manager Darsie Culbeck and public facilities director Carlos Jimenez, the administration said the sewer treatment plant topped the list to reflect the borough’s commitment to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation regarding facility upgrades.

Though figures aren’t yet available for this year’s request, last year the borough asked for $970,000 to upgrade the screening process at the facility and replace equipment on the verge of failure.

Improvements to the Lutak Dock, estimated at $2.7 million, are the second-place priority, while replacement of the public safety building ranked third.

In descending order of priority, the list also includes requests for the Third Avenue road improvement project, the South Portage Cove harbor expansion and slump mitigation and drainage improvements in the Lutak Road and Oceanview Drive area.

Items seven through 12 are related to the borough’s school system, including renovation/replacement of the high school locker rooms and mechanical systems, replacement of the Mosquito Lake School sprinkler system, high school air handling unit replacement, vocational education building mechanical upgrades, Mosquito Lake School air handling replacement and repairs to the high school roof.

The Port Chilkoot Dock improvements fell from a number nine priority to last place this year because they are funded through a source separate from Alaska’s general funds -- the Commercial Passenger Vessel Excise Tax.

At its Dec. 10 meeting, the assembly also approved its federal priorities, a list of eight projects and programs eligible for federal funding.

The Haines Harbor and Lutak facility improvements swapped places this year, with the Haines harbor taking the No. 1 spot.

Much like the state priorities, the federal priorities list looked almost identical to last year, with a few items switching spots. The list also included continued funding of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs, Shakwak Project, Tribal Transportation Program and Haines National Scenic Byway as priorities for the community.

The project requests will be submitted through the Alaska Capital Project Submission and Information System (CAPSIS) by the deadline in early February.

While borough priorities can help guide legislators when making funding decisions, other factors contribute to the formation of the state’s capital budget, including the governor’s priorities and the requests of other communities in the district.