Borough assembly members voted Tuesday to spend $5,000 on an Anchorage-based firm’s review of its appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Porcupine Trail Road repair funds.

Borough officials have been working on an appeal to FEMA’s decision to claw back nearly $1.5 million in funding for repairs to Porcupine Trail Road after the agency found the borough broke federal rules in rebuilding portions of the road in 2023.

Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot offered to review the initial appeal for $5,000 and supplement it with legal points.

“They’re not going to change the tenor of what the assembly has worked on,” borough manager Annette Kreitzer told the assembly. “It’s just adding in those legal points.”
The borough is already working with engineering firm ProHNS on that appeal, which will likely take months to resolve.

First the borough has to send the appeal to the state of Alaska, which has months to respond. Then the appeal is sent to FEMA which also has months to respond.

“We’re not going to hear back from anybody really until the snow flies next year,” said assembly member Debra Schnabel. “It’s a long time.”

If the borough’s appeal is not granted, the firm has also offered to draw up an assessment of the borough’s other options – that could cost another $15,000- $20,000.