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

Assembly ups harbor project scope

 

August 29, 2019



Last week, the Haines Borough Assembly passed a resolution, 4-2, expanding the harbor boat launch improvement project scope to total $5.8 million, exceeding budget funding by $130,000.

Contract administration, inspection and engineer designs will add another $1 million to the total cost of the project.

On July 24, the assembly authorized a $4.7 million contract with Skagway-based Hamilton Construction for a two-lane boat launch ramp, parking lot and harbor park. At that time, state funding was unknown, so the assembly excluded three additives from the project—electricity and lighting, paving and striping the parking lot, and Front Street lighting.

On Aug. 12, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirmed its 2020 capital improvement project budget, including $1.22 million allocated to the Haines Borough expressly for the three previously excluded additives.

On Tuesday, public facilities director Brad Ryan told the assembly that the borough would not receive the additional ADF&G funding without awarding the three additives. He said that the $130,000 overage could be paid for with the harbor reserve fund.

“How is it that (the state) can tell us how we have to do our add alternates?” assembly member Heather Lende asked.

Ryan said that specific use was written into the cooperative agreement with Fish and Game, penned by the state.

Assembly members Lende and Tom Morphet opposed paving the parking lot.

“If we pave this parking lot, how are we going to keep repaving it if there aren’t any new slips to add to the revenue coming in?” Lende asked. Originally, remaining federal funds were going to pay for additional permanent moorage floats, but now that money is being spent on alternatives.

Ryan said that the harbor will use boat launch fees, moorage slip fees and transient moorage to generate revenue.

Morphet said without floats, the expansion project won’t bring in any money.

“It kind of feels like that free money for paving is a little bit like being given a free child to take care of for the rest of my life,” Morphet said. “That’s not really a gift. The net result is that we’re putting down four acres of asphalt that we don’t need and we’re not getting any floats that we do need.”

Assembly member Brenda Josephson, who works for construction company Southeast Roadbuilders, said that asphalt will protect the harbor against erosion.

“This has gone through an extensive public review process,” Josephson said. “I yield to the assembly as a whole who has approved this.”

Construction for the project is slated to begin this fall, though no official schedule has been set, Ryan said.

 
 

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