Borough wrestles with funding options for failing Lutak Dock


September 14, 2017

The Haines Borough Assembly invited the Haines Ports and Harbor Advisory Board along with the planning commission to participate in a public meeting after the two bodies pushed back on Haines Borough Manager Debra Schnabel’s recommendation to downsize the Lutak Dock project.

Schnabel said the borough was turned down for federal grant funding and said the cheaper $21 million project is more realistic because the borough needs non-federal funding to receive matching federal grants.

Schnabel had requested between $8 million and $10 million from a pool of $20 million in state money earmarked for Lynn Canal transportation projects.

Commission member Brenda Josephson said the borough should be asking the state for $15 million and not downsize a project for “something that we need to service our community for generations.”

Schnabel has since requested $15 million from the state and also met with the Chilkoot Indian Association regarding tribal assistance with the dock’s rehabilitation. The tribe is qualified to receive 100 percent federal funding of capital projects, Schnabel said in a memo to the assembly.

The less expensive plan, a design incorporating berthing dolphins, decreases the dock’s footprint and storage space. That storage place could be used for timber or ore storage.

“It’s good to think of the future planning for the economy of the community and I think a lot of people see this Lutak Dock as being an economic driver,” Schnabel told the borough assembly at its Sept. 12 meeting.

She also said the community needs to weigh that economic desire with the possibility that the dock could fail while the borough waits to seek funding for the larger project.

At its most recent meeting, planning commission member Jeremy Stephens said when a grant proposal gets shot down, “you get feedback and you re-propose.”

“There’s more than just one grant out there I don’t know why we’re putting all our eggs in one granting basket,” Stephens said.

Schnabel said the Chilkoot Indian Association suggested the borough sign ownership of the dock over to the tribe “for the time period of the project, complete the project and return the rehabilitated dock to the municipality.”

The next capital grant application deadlines are Oct. 16 and Nov. 2.

“If we are to apply for federal funds, we must have non-federal matching funds in place,” Schnabel said.

The community meeting is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.


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