Assembly Briefs


March 2, 2023

The next phase of the Lutak Dock progressive design-build replacement project was approved unanimously by the Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday.

Several residents expressed concern about the cost of the project and urged the assembly to not move forward with the decision.

The borough’s boat harbor enterprise fund will source $2.4 million of the project. A federal grant from the DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) will provide $20 million and $3.2 million will come from legislative state funds.

Other residents questioned the need for the dock replacement, arguing that Alaska Marine Lines’ roll-on-roll-off dock was adequate.

“This Lutak Dock is not only about Haines,” assembly member Gabe Thomas said. “We service a way bigger area. To only consider that it serves our needs is kind of inconsiderate for the rest of the community.”

The risk with delaying the project, borough manager Annette Kreitzer said, would be losing federal grant money. Kreitzer urged the assembly to not delay the contract.

“We need to be under contract with MARAD and before MARAD we need to be in a contract with Turnagain by September of 2024. But what is happening right now is that we are getting a pre-obligation agreement from MARAD for Turnagain to go ahead and order the steel which will take many many months to get for this project.”

Mayor Doug Olerud added that delaying the project would cost more money due to inflation.

“If you look at the rate of inflation for different projects another coming through another six-month delay could add potentially hundreds of thousands to millions to the project just on the cost of materials.”

Olerud, Kreitzer, and assembly members Jerry Lapp and Cheryl Stickler expressed concern about the current dock being a liability.

“If that dock face fails there isn't a ready source of money for that,” Olerud said. “There aren't really grant opportunities for decommissioning docks and making them safe. And so if we were to go one of those routes that cost would most likely be much higher or fully paid for by Haines Borough residents.”

At the same meeting, Airtak owner George Campbell appealed the planning commission’s decision to uphold the manager’s cease-and-desist order for the operation of his airstrip until a conditional-use permit was obtained. Campbell’s appeal was denied by the assembly.

“It’s important that when we are applying code and interpreting code that we are doing it consistently. Heliports traditionally in this borough have had to have conditional use permits,” assembly member Cheryl Stickler said.

In other businesses, $10,000 was added to the annual budget for the installation of capstans and winches on the Port Chilkoot Cruise Ship Dock. The capstans and winches were donated by the Cruise Line Agency of Alaska.

An ordinance was passed allowing the borough manager to enter a lease with the museum. The assembly also voted to make the manager a non-voting member of the Haines Sheldon Museum board of trustees.

An ordinance to extend residency requirements for empowered boards to one year, rather than 30 days, was scheduled for a second hearing.

This story originally reported that the assembly voted to make the manager a voting member of the Haines Sheldon Museum board of trustees when in fact the ordinance made the manager a non-voting member.


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