GIRDWOOD VALLEY SERVICE AREA BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Tracey Knutson, Chair;
Victor Duncan, Marcus Tingle, John Gallup, Nick Danger
Mayor’s Quarterly Meeting with GBOS
July 28, 2005
Mayor’s Conference Room, City Hall
Tracey Knutson, Chair, opens the meeting at 12:05 pm.
Board members present: Knutson, Marcus Tingle, John Gallup, Victor Duncan, Nick Danger
Mayor’s staff present: Mayor Begich, Howard Holtan, Art Eash, John Rense, Heather Rauch, Lance Wilbur, Julie Hasquet, Jeff Dillon, Tom Nelson, Robin Ward, Mary Ann Daniel
Others present: Rebecca Reichlin, Sam Daniel, Representative Mike Hawker
Knutson says wished to update but is still waiting for information. Right now, GBOS in direct contact with Senator Stevens office to see if they can satisfy AKDOT that by releasing the money they are holding, congressional intent will still be served. Is hearing several things at this point. Has talked directly to David Post of the AKDOT; Lisa Sutherland, Senator Stevens’ aide. Howard Holtan is cheering us on. (Mayor Begich says, “We’re ready. We’ve been ready all year to do whatever we’re called upon to do. We’ll expedite the work; whatever is necessary to make the projects come together.”) Knutson continues by noting both Holtan and Jacques Boutet have been very helpful. The money the MOA currently administering in Town Square: had a setback in the past couple of months having to deal with flood plain issues. Phase II monies that originally had been set to complete Town Square Park are now being reshuffled to address the 100-year flood plain issue with the placement of culverts. Will see if we can’t replace some of that money through FIMA, etc.
John Gallup asks if there is any way to incorporate the traffic calming idea into the placement of the flood plain culverts. Notes it is in about the right spot.
Knutson says the Board will continue to work with Holtan and Boutet to see what is possible. Don’t have right now the exact dollar figure for the culverts. Will continue to ask questions and coordinate as more information becomes available.
Knutson shares information presented to the Board by Chad Frank, the Girdwood Parks and Recreation employee. He reported there is apparently a $2700 (twenty seven hundred dollar) MOA permit fee connected with the building of the Nissman Memorial Pavilion in Girdwood. This is a structure to commemorate the young gentleman killed in Portage Valley. The friends and family had generated a significant amount of cast towards the building of this project: approximately fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) and Parks and Rec, the USFS have coordinated efforts to build this project; it is largely a volunteer-driven effort. The fee is approximately 14% (fourteen percent) of their budget.
Begich asks what the fee is: land use?
Tom Nelson says it is a land use permit fee: actually Ron Thompson’s area.
Knutson asks what can be done about this: it is raising harsh feelings, etc.
Begich asks if the fee is based upon value? A flat fee?
Duncan says it is usually based on square footage.
Nelson confirms. It is based upon value: a base fee of $2000 (two thousand dollars) plus a value calculation ($22 for the first $500, plus $2.50 for ach additional $100).
Knutson asks if there is any procedure for waiving the fee.
Begich says he doubts it.
Knutson asks then how Girdwood should deal with this.
Jeff Dillon says this is part of another issue that he brought up about a year ago: as MOA goes out and asks volunteers to do more and more, every time they raise $20,000 (twenty thousand dollars), the MOA supplies $20,000 (twenty thousand dollars of in kind service): every time a project is done, it generates a fee that really alienates the volunteer community. Dillon understands there are direct costs with those MOA departments doing their work. Wonders if those fees could be ‘IGC’d’. In other words, when it is an authorized project by the community that has the legitimate community support, that the Parks and Recreation Department would then cover the cost of that permit fee. Reality is: have to figure out how to adjust that in the budget. Begich adds he assumes someone would pay for it. Knutson says if it is ‘IGC’d’ in Girdwood, it just means Girdwood won’t have that permit fee amount in its budget anymore. Dillon continues: if these fees can’t be waived, MOA needs to come up with a budget item that covers those fees for the appropriate projects. There are going to be more projects where this happens. Knutson notes the Board heard back from Nissman’s family: doesn’t know how to respond to them. Begich notes it is just a land use fee. Nelson adds it’s just for a zoning review. He (Nelson) talked to Ron Thompson about this on another project (where someone was complaining about the cost). Thompson and Nelson both agree that the fee seems excessive compared to the degree of evaluation that goes into it for land use permits. He (Thompson) was going to initiate an amendment to reduce the land use permit fees (within the building code) to make it more reflective of what goes on in a land review. Again, Knutson asks what the Board needs to do. Begich asks Heather Rauch to have Mike Abbott follow up on this one specifically (the deputy city manager, deals with all the safety development services). Begich tells Knutson that Mike Abbott will contact the Board. Dillon asks to be kept in the loop on this so that he can share it will Chad Frank. Knutson asks to be emailed. Heather Rauch says she will let Mike (Abbott) take the lead and get in touch with Knutson. Begich says it addresses the bigger question of zoning review and the appropriate cost for it.
Knutson says this item was raised again as it has come up several times, particularly the joint LUC/GBOS meeting. One of the Girdwood community resolutions suggested was to simply ‘grandfather’ all existing developed properties. Hesitate to comment, however this seems to be, as someone said, the ‘nuclear approach’ and is not rational. Is concerned that it may be anywhere from four hundred dollars ($400) to twenty five hundred dollars ($2500) for non-conforming properties as well as a lengthy process to go into the MOA .
Begich offers that he just paid one hundred twenty two dollars ($122) for a non-conforming use done and it took two (2) days.
Nelson says if a citizen is looking for a certification of non-conforming status, it is one hundred fifteen dollars ($115) an hour. For a S/F home, normally doesn’t take more than an hour. That is the document you need that banks accept for financing.
Begich says he just went through it on a commercial property and it only cost one hundred twenty two ($122).
Nelson notes that if for some reason, a property owner needs a variance then it is more costly. But that is different. It, also, doesn’t necessarily mean you need one in order to sell a house
Begich says if you are required to get a certificate of non-conforming use (some banks require it, some don’t), go to second floor of Public Works; give as-built; photos done by assessor or appraiser (an area-wide rezoning was done in 1975 with documentation of all properties at that time); description. That’s it. Not complicated.
Knutson asks if someone doesn’t have their as built, do they rely on documents that Public Works already has?
Nelson responds that when a property in purchased, normally that information is with the documentation.
Begich notes it is the homeowner’s responsibility to provide the as-built. Should be in original packet. If someone doesn’t know his or her property lines, it isn’t the city’s problem. As-builts cost between two hundred dollars ($200) and four hundred dollars ($400).
Knutson asks if someone wants to add on to his or her home: does this require a variance?
Begich agrees this is more difficult: need to determine what is being done. Does it require parking? Etc. Also: need a variance for a non-conforming use that exists already. Example: 15th Avenue: woman had a car run into her house; it was non-conforming to re-build and it was allowed.
Nelson adds the fee for a S/F dwelling variance is eleven hundred fifty dollars ($1150) for the application.
Begich notes that sometimes financing will require both documents: certificate of
non-conformance and variance.
Gallup says S/F dwellings in all other ways conforming and want to add something on to the dwelling that is also conforming, just go through the regular building process.
Knutson asks if MOA Planning has made any recommendations regarding adjustment of fees with the passing of Chapter 9 ( to Tom Nelson).
Nelson says no. Not a fee issue, it’s a policy issue.
Begich says- no offense to Girdwood- but other people in the Municipality have to pay the fees. Once you have non-conforming document it does with the property. Everyone in the Borough pays this. Part of the ‘growing pain’ process.
Nelson says a lot of the concerns about non-conforming status being a result for many properties with the passing of Chapter 9: have to say, with the current provisions that were put into the document to try and minimize that, it is not going to be a big deal or that many that become non-conforming. Welcome anyone else’s observation on that .
Knutson says the concerns/ questions were raised by the community and she wanted to address them.
Nelson says he feels the concerns are symptomatic of the public hearing where there was confusion over what the code really was saying; a lot of misinterpretation.
Knutson says one of her concerns listening to community’s response to Chapter 9 was that it was self-focused: ‘what about me?’
Nick Danger says there were scare tactics being thrown at the community. Has a friend whose house was built on railroad ties and was told he would have to tear his house down. Not the case.
Begich comments that isn’t true. So many changes over the years in the Borough. Setbacks have changed, etc. Where twelve-plexes were built years ago, now only eight-plexes are allowed.
Knutson asks to delay this subject until a representative arrives to speak to this.
Knutson shares the Board has been doing an analysis of drainage issues in Girdwood. A large culvert across from the Tesoro and runs out to the Inlet. The ditch is overgrown; water is backing up into the Old Townsite area and causing problems. Who owns the property? Holtan thinks it is the State of Alaska. Art Eash says HLB owns on the north side of Highway. Duncan says it is probably a State right-of-way. Begich says Representative Mike Hawker may be able to help.
Holtan says it is the only drain for the Old Townsite; easiest solution is to deepen the ditch; take the silt out of the ditch and restore it to what was originally constructed there. DOT isn’t interested in doing that as ‘their road is fine’. Knutson says maybe the DOT can take responsibility for the private properties that are being affected by the flooding caused by the lack of drainage. Holtan says he doesn’t think it is an expensive problem to fix; it is a permit problem as it has become a salmon stream. Wants to ask his engineers if there is an alternative to digging the ditch out. Marcus Tingle notes he met with the hydrologist from HDR: says can’t run a ditch on Girdwood side of highway due to the dike. Holtan says to place the ditch on the road slope toward Glacier Creek originally. Or, put on Southside and restore the tide table; seems like the solution. Will talk with his engineers. Tingle says in talking to Redmonds: expense is about ten thousand dollars ($10 thousand), figured high.
Holtan says the best solution is to open up the existing ditch. Tingle says the hydrologist says they have a fish expert on staff and feels he could present the argument that by mucking out the ditch, the fish frey will have better passage and a better chance of surviving. Wants to meet on site with Fish and Game, the hydrologist from HDR with their fish specialist; GBOS; MOA PM&E: to work out a solution. Holtan says he will work with GBOS: have to get permitting people to work with this idea. Begich says Holtan will check with his folks and may entail a meeting on site. Knutson notes the GBOS has drainage money to do the job.
Knutson says one of her struggles as Chair is knowing at any given moment what the Board has to work with. Has talked with Jerry Pineau: will work with the GBOS secretary to access ‘budget to actuals’ in the Muniverse system on the Muni computer (Chad Frank’s computer in Girdwood). Once this information is in hand, the Board will go into Executive Session to review the information; then will be ready to meet with the MOA/ OMB for direction.
Gallup asks Knutson: is the Board to sit down soon and see how mill rate adjustments affect income. Is that separate? Both Begich and Knutson say: separate but related. Knutson says that information is available from Diana Pearcy. Begich says her position is now filled by Janet Vincent (OMB Director). Begich says she can show valuation and how it works. Might be interesting as you meet with Janet to build Girdwood’s budget per ‘need’: see what mill levy would be; then adjust if needed. Helps make case to the community either way.
Gallup notes both Community School and Community Center are needed: might be a little amount to raise mill to acknowledge these.
Begich says the Board will get a lot of requests and ‘heat’ for things you should’ve thought of but didn’t. If you budget for the needs and keep the community involved in the process, so when ready to set mill levy people understand it.
Knutson says it is interesting: experience is that whenever you say ‘budget’, people equate ‘budget’ to ‘boring’. If you say ‘ change street names’ , people come out of the woodwork. (Begich notes he just assigned seven (7) in Girdwood.) But important how to work the process. Begich says: and how you involve the people in that process. Maybe the agenda item is phrased: ‘Taxes/ Community Center: Maybe, Maybe Not?’ Then put actual item next to it.
Knutson asks secretary to note need for Executive Session once she receives more information from Janet.
Knutson says the Board has been asked to keep this item on the agenda. Obviously no forward motion on this need for Girdwood. Nothing has changed.
Begich confirms that the allocation for Girdwood was for ‘capital’ and not ‘operational’ expense. Knutson confirms. Also: last Mayor’s meeting, discussed attempt to get AKRR to sit down and discuss; no luck or further discussions.
Art Eash says HLB sat with them and there was a reluctance to participate on the issue. What does their interest in an increase in tourist business to Girdwood and points south. Talked of a possible shuttle system.
Knutson shares she went on train trip when the high level USFS people were visiting. Steve from the AKRR said they were very willing to partner with the USFS on the new whistle-stop program. It is driven by tourist orientation. Comment was made on trip that they’re looking to see what the link between Girdwood and the Stevens International Airport happens to be. A certain amount of resistance in the community and question of a rail link into the valley: no one wants to hear the noise or have the railway anywhere near them. The AKRR isn’t the answer to the transportation problem in Girdwood; need a taxi permit at the least. An entrepreneur for bus transportation?
Begich asks if there isn’t a taxicab special permit that can be granted for Girdwood.
Knutson says she thought Girdwood was up against the taxicab lobby.
Begich says there are six (6) special permits. Wants to double-check on this.
Knutson says she thinks it was a discussion that wasn’t fully developed. Since she’s been on the Board, had two (2) people try to get permits and run up against limited number of permits and those that own the permits hasn’t made it possible.
Begich asks Heater Rauch to make a note on this and check with Brent over at Transportation. Something internal for Girdwood. Check on this.
Rauch says she will get back with Knutson.
Eash says Tom Wilson did some research: buses are out on the basis of affordability. Maybe vans or van pooling or some other alternatives internally. Trolley system appears out.
Nelson says wouldn’t be able to have a fixed route system without Anchor Ride system.
Duncan says under the impression that the size of the vehicle mattered and number of seats that are affected.
Begich says can get a chauffeur’s license. Duncan asks why that isn’t an answer.
Nick Danger says Kevin tried this for Max’s and failed. Five ($5) dollars wherever you want to go.
Knutson asks Heather to please get more information. Perhaps some small commercial venture.
Begich says if there is a private entrepreneur that wants to run a system: use hypothetical situation. Say a bus costs seventy five thousand dollars ($75,000) to operate; advertising on the bus brings in ten thousand ($10,000); fees are twenty to thirty thousand dollars ($20-30,000); then there is a gap. Perhaps the MOA could subsidize sixty percent (60%): that’s how it works. Actually contracting out with funding source. Do advertising on bus: billboard.
Duncan says local businesses such as Bob Persons who would anchor that system.
Begich asks Heather to also check on the Ulu Factory what it costs to operate each year. They do a rotation downtown. Perhaps work with hotel (Alyeska Hotel): have them shut down their shuttle and use your system. Have them merge their operation with yours.
Rebecca Reichlin offers they have put together an Art Bus for downtown Anchorage: 10:30 – 5:30 pm shuttle service, weekends only, in one half hour turnaround. Use Power Transit Services. Cost is five hundred dollars ($500) a day on weekends. A free service; use Anchor Rides bus; provide signage; a summer shuttle.
Begich says this is a good example. Will also make sure they check with Brent (Fraser) and get back to the Board.
Knutson says the Board was hoping for an update from the Mayor. At the last quarterly meeting, the administration was looking into potential investors/developers. A feeling in Girdwood that the pushing through of Chapter 9 is happening so there are ‘ground rules’ that can be shown to developers. Some resentment around that in Girdwood. The move away from ‘jungle rules’ is painful, but seems important. What is happening now? (Robin Ward enters meeting room.)
Begich reports a lot of time has been spent doing mapping and suitability studies of the land (through GIS, digitized mapping, relief mapping, physically walking the land). Suitability and feasibility studies have been done for the entire Glacier/Winner Creek area including use for the ski area, recreational area housing, commercial, wetlands, road corridors, etc. This knowledge is critical for any good discussion with the community, developer, valuations, infrastructure, etc.
Robin Ward notes it is close to being finished. A couple of things found: have discovered trails aren’t where they’re supposed to be, for example. Are remapping trails and placing them on maps where they are (ski trails, etc.). Checking into such things as how sensitive the wetlands are, etc. The finalized maps should be coming through very shortly . Have put out a contract for the feasibility once development pods look like; what will market bear; etc. In three (3) months, will have everything for the feasibility and the real estate development also. The ski hill portion is a little farther along than the real estate.
Begich says the investment they are making at this state is a HLB investment. Once the feasibility for housing (S/F? cluster?etc.), then ready to advance to the stage of investor/developer types ‘perk up’ even more. Then they aren’t taking a big risk; it becomes a package of opportunity. At that stage, will want to engage with the community a lot. Then turn it to the developers to the next stage; probably January,
Ward notes once housing is figured out, still some challenges: Girdwood is behind in infrastructure needs, particularly sewer/water. The treatment plant has got to be expanded; probably have to do another well site. That’s a huge component.
Knutson asks since Girdwood is out from under the tax cap and there are problems with infrastructure for future development: who will pay for this?
Begich says the feasibility study will address an array of options: it would detail out value and different tools to address things such as taxing, abatement, assessment, zoning, valuation of land. For example, Mountain View: currently land selling in Mountain View; want affordable housing, connections to transit, business incubator program, etc. MOA may have ‘shopping list’ of items that may discount the square foot price in order to invest back into that community. MOA thinks it is the right approach to economic development; some members of the Assembly don’t like the idea. Idea in Mountain View is to create new opportunity to an area that has already been developed (kind of the opposite of Girdwood and Glacier/ Winner Creek) to reinvest and bring the neighborhood back up. In Girdwood, it is an investment to build the community that will have an impact on the infrastructure to the existing area. One of the discussions we will have: what are the things that the valuation of the land should pay for? That is a hard sell to some Assembly members; Mayor thinks it is good public policy: a kind of ‘give and take’, no matter where you are.
It’s not an easy answer at this point. Know the valuation of that land (TIS and other granting opportunities) will pay a central role in this. Sometimes get resistance from the Assembly; in fact, one of the members that represents Girdwood. Will have a lot of educating to do.
Ward says they feel it’s a good investment because it has long term benefits. Not every Assembly member looks at it that way.
Begich states the MOA may want to select a developer vs. an RFP: can negotiate additional items (non-cost items to MOA) that enhance the development. Girdwood: will have to be careful how they package it up. MOA wants maximum value, which may not be monetary. It may be esthetics or other things. Some members of the Assembly may just say, ‘sell it off to the highest bidder’ and whatever happens. Makes the Mayor nervous. In this situation, thinks they have to have a much greater need for government control: ‘partnership’ or ‘joint venture’. Nothing wrong with that. For example, will have to have worker housing in Girdwood: may have to subsidize some land to get the valuation down.
Knutson say some of the questions that come are triggered by the other things being done: for example, trying to get the money back from AKDOT. Knows part of the reason the DOT is ‘dragging their feet’: if they pave all the way to the top of the road, they have to plow all the way. They don’t want that responsibility. The same thing happens if it falls in the GBOS’ lap: the Board/Girdwood doesn’t want to maintain it either all the way up.
Ward says it even goes further than that: what if the money doesn’t pave it all the way?
Knutson responds that people are saying things such as, ‘well, our water system works well for us, but if you (the MOA) want to sell this land and build, who is going to pay for the new water system? We’re not going to, we don’t want our tax assessment to go up..’ When you talk about big initial drops, people don’t want to pay for that. That’s where the huge resistance is. You ( the MOA) has to be able to say they are willing to make some of those drops. What is supported afterwards is a whole other question. People get articulate fairly quickly. The fear is how do you pay for it right straight out of the chute?
Begich says that is the importance of the feasibility study: it lays out a lot of that information. One way to reassure the community when this question comes up:
select members of the community to meet and work with the developer on all aspects of the project. MOA will be involved as the landowner. At some point as this moves forward, will be coming to GBOS with a presentation. By next quarterly meeting, Robin can make a presentation. Hear what you’re saying and recognize it. Each project is different and must be approached individually. MOA will be looking toward the community of Girdwood to sell this when the time is right to the Assembly: that some of the proceeds of this development need to go back into the community to support the infrastructure and project.
Knutson says one of the comments: ‘we don’t want to be the next Whittier’.
Begich says Whittier developed as they saw fit. If we stopped now and did it in pieces, Girdwood would have poor, inconsistent development: will have trouble with water, sewer and refuse collection. Then there is no one to get money from except existing people because it hasn’t been part of the process.
Knutson says the Whittier comment comes from the fact that the money was used to open the tunnel, not create infrastructure in Whittier; there are three (3) Porta-Potties over there.
Begich says they want to have the discussion for affordable housing for people who work in the area. Great models around the country worth looking at.
Knutson notes the Resort has a vanpool to Anchorage.
Ward says she assures the Board the MOA/ HLB will do a lot of studies: need a lot of really good information to go forward. Talking about an awful lot of money and people’s lives. Going to do our duty: for example, will have Northern Economics run the feasibility of all of this. At that point, Girdwood is going to have to look at that second road into the valley. As far as I’m concerned, that’s our responsibility: we are the major landowners.
Knutson says a lot of this is being driven by the Chapter 9 stuff. (To Tom Nelson): You heard this: ‘has anybody sat down and figured out what this is going to cost?’
Begich says the answer is ‘yes, we are’. We don’t just do things because they sound good. When the day is done, part of correctly designing a project includes infrastructure. If it doesn’t, that is bad public policy.
Knutson asks how much further along the ski area development is.
Ward answers that the ski runs are laid out; also, base facilities. What’s behind that is real estate land around the area. Have asked them to lay the ski trails out because want to develop around the trails: those are an asset in her opinion.
Knutson asks if that information is available to look at.
Ward says not yet, but the concept maps should be ready for presentation at the next quarterly meeting. It is being done by the SE Group. And Dave Hamre was along.
Nick Danger asks about affordable housing for the resort employees. Thinks it is over-emphasized. Works for the resort as an employee and there is plenty of housing. Resort is relying now on a J-1 visa program: bringing people from Poland and Czechoslovakia to work. Found forty (40) of them housing this summer.
A good point, but people aren’t going to buy houses to work at the resort the rest of their lives as it isn’t a career job; that is a transient, low-paying job.
Begich says he would like to re-phrase: a kind of development like Glacier/Winner Creek has a lot of commercial elements to it. Uses the term ‘resort’ to indicate the community. Talking about condominiums, etc. Lot prices right now are very expensive down there; at least one hundred thirty thousand dollars ($130,000). Not affordable for many people. Someone who is retired but wants to open a small business down there can’t afford that. Those are the kind of things that need to be balance very carefully. Girdwood does not want to end up with only multi-million dollar homes. A good mix makes a better community. Not just a resort. Want a very careful balance. Looking for affordable housing for full-time residents.
Knutson acknowledges Sam Daniel and Rebecca Reichlin of Girdwood.
Sam Daniel begins by thanking Representative Hawker for his efforts in Juneau last winter: fought the good fight for education. Update since last meeting: decision made for FVCS Inc. to move towards autonomy with the support of the Anchorage Community Schools program. In the process of happening. This is the 25th Anniversary for the Community School in Girdwood. Intend for it to be a year of re-building. Very excited about it; many opportunities out there. As a former community school coordinator and volunteer manager, is very proud of the community school volunteers. So far, have 501-C- 3 application into the IRS; also, signed an agreement between the MOA and the School District to use the school during the school year. Currently advertising for a community school coordinator’s position and working to pursue liability insurance. Community has done a community survey to find out the community’s needs and interest. One of the things that is very clear: would like to see a higher level of service. More activities, more facilities, more year-round opportunities. The Community School is working on partnerships. One of the ones most interested in is the Parks and Recreation. Intend to put in towards a portion of the non-profit grant again this year, but also want to move into an even stronger partnership. One of the questions: having someone in P&R to work closely with. Looking for support: need help getting up and running. Two issues need help on:
# 1: partially funding the community school’s coordinator position (the GBOS
may be able to help with this); and
# 2: helping provide liability insurance for running the program, perhaps as
a part of a closer partnership with Parks and Recreation.
Originally, FVCS had a substantial savings account. Has been drained quite a bit:
have about one (1) more year of monies available to try and make the program
sustainable. The insurance question is a big one.
Begich (asks Jeff Dillon): Have you talked with Fred (Boness)?
Dillon answers that insurance is a problem with all non-profits: this is a little more
complicated as the ASD is involved. So not only is it a requirement for P&R, but also
for ASD. Asks what the cost of the policy is.
Rebecca Reichlin offers that waiting on bids right now. Know need a minimum of $1
million in liability coverage. Estimates are from $6,000 (six thousand dollars) to
$10,000 (ten thousand dollars). Have had no claims. In order to operate and use
schools: liability coverage, again, is $1 million. Hoping could pursue this through the
MOA or Parks and Recreation Department.
Knutson asks Dillon: since Girdwood is out from under the tax cap, is this an IGC
Begich: the quandary is how to budget the item: if it goes through the MOA, will end
up paying the MOA a fee to do it. Don’t have to do it through MOA. This is a
good example of a ‘need’: what is the level that the GBOS wants to fund it?
To the MOA, there is no reason for MOA/P&R involvement to add to the
Knutson offers it is clear that the community school funding is going to become part
of the budgetary process.
Begich says it is items like these that drove the Girdwood community to get out from
under the tax cap to provide relief to important items. (To Reichlin and Daniel): need to present what component of the budget that cannot be managed by FVCS and would like the tax base of Girdwood to help with. GBOS needs that number to put
in their budget proposal to Girdwood.
Knutson (to Reichlin and Daniel): know that if P&R pays for something and a portion
Of our mill rate is assigned to P&R, literally if P&R in town gets involved in the process, they will charge Girdwood. That means something else that has been budgeted for under the mills available goes away. Thinks the best answer is what the Mayor suggests: give GBOS the cost of what it will take to run community school that cannot be generated by the community school: that will become part of the budget. Absolutely clear the community school piece is an important part of the budget. No doubt that the Girdwood community wants a community school. Need to know what revenue is needed so we can plan for it. Need to know this amount for Fall, 2005, within the next few weeks. The next mill rate for Girdwood will be set by first of the year.
Begich offers that the way the community may end up being set up: present to the Board an overall budget with a gap of ‘x’ dollars which is being requested: it will become a grant.
Dillon comments that that is currently what is done: a non-profit grant. What would happen is just a raising of that grant level per indicated needs (i.e. adjust the mills). Or, do it through current recreation fees and other services would be lowered.
Knutson asks Reichlin and Daniels to educate the Board on both budget needs: the amount that is needed by Fall, 2005, to cover liability insurance (need by August GBOS meeting in order to take action; minimize this amount as much as possible as it will come out of an emergency budget reserve); the budget amount for the 2006 year for the community school. The 2006 budget will become part of the entire budget proposal to Girdwood in the late Fall, 2005, so the community school can become part of the mill rate for the 2006 year.
Art Eash comments that Lance Wilbur asked him to pass the word: in response to Chris Von Imhof’s letter to DOT. A letter went out with the Mayor’s signature recommending that DOT give strong consideration to suggestions in the letter of Von Imhof’s.
Knutson adds that the concern is that the DOT planning process is underway and they are ‘not accustomed to taking community input’. The planning process for additional construction on the Seward Highway is going on currently. As GBOS understands it from engineering, the continued plan is the continuation of the ‘suicide lane/ three lane’ design. The community is wanting to be involved in the planning process. Just had two (2) days ago: traffic was backed up to Portage, couldn’t go north. Had another accident. All aware we lost community member, Diane Bahnson. The gist of the letter is to say, ‘stop the planning process; let us be involved in it’. The GBOS is going to send out a letter to legislature, governor, MOA, etc., saying we want to be involved.
Begich says his letter was sent last week: going to see Gordon Keith, the Southcentral Director of DOT: will put it on his list to discuss it with him. This is a standard DOT problem. MOA has worked with them on (‘ARTS’) some local roads and issues. Mary Jane and I meet with them every Tuesday. Had some success.
Need to put pressure on.
Representative Hawker states this is the second year he has been working on this specific issue with DOT. Even before this last accident. Knows DOT is reconsidering its criteria for the design along the Seward Highway. Is not aware of any decisions, however. Spend entire summer working DOT issues. They don’t like public comment. The greatest influence is adding the Municipality’s voice to this. Critical.
Begich asks Heather Rauch is this on the AMATS?
Rauch says no, on national highway system, but outside AMATS. However, AMATS a number of things have highlighted the need for better community involvement. Because of that, working with the state on context sensitive design process; a number of workshops are happening now to find common ground and new process. Through that, this will get addressed. Will follow up on this specific issue. Will make sure GBOS gets a copy of that letter of where things are at.
Begich made a very compelling case in his letter. As soon as we received that, we wrote ours.
Representative Hawker says Von Imhof’s letter is a result of engineers’ information. The original highway plan is twenty (20) years old for the highway; trying to update it and address current concerns.
Begich says need to request a meeting with project managers on this. When this is done, ‘cc’ the MOA: representatives from the city will attend.
Begich and Rauch will put this specific item on ‘shopping list’ for discussion with Gordon Keith (DOT).
Knutson asks for copy of Mayor’s letter to DOT.
John Gallup adds that he wrote a letter to Von Imhof, ‘cc’d’ Hamre. Thinks it’s a mistake to straighten the highway too much. If goes to four (4) lane: will lose safety gains with speed. Need to leave curvilinear alignment. Thinks the AKRR wants to straighten it as much as possible to go fifty- two (52) mph with their freight. A mistake for the highway as it won’t help with safety.
Tingle says if the design is to split the highway into four (4) lanes, two (2) on either side of the RR tracks it shouldn’t be a factor.
Gallup believes you trade head-on collisions for high-speed, same-direction accidents. Assuming no speed enforcement.
Begich says this is exactly the point of context sensitive design: not just to design for faster, but meet other needs at hand. MOA is applying the idea in city roads; the State is slowly putting the idea together. The idea of long-range transportation plan is a state/city effort is that it will incorporate and institutionalize that kind of design standards. The MOA thinks it’s very important. Objectives: safer; more connected; etc. DOT tends to straight and fast roads.
Knutson says there is a group in Girdwood that wants to broadcast public meetings on television. Raise this for a few reasons: right now, broadcast on the radio so anyone can listen. Does the Assembly do televised broadcasting?
Begich says yes; it is very expensive.
Ward says they broadcast live and then re-broadcast two (2) times a week.
Knutson asks if there are any regulatory things involved.
Begich says it is open access. Ask Elvey in the Assembly office: she can track down how it’s done; what it costs; what the issues are. It’s one of the reasons the Assembly did not broadcast the joint public hearing on television from Girdwood: too expensive. Can probably tell you exactly what that meeting would’ve cost to broadcast. Had to calculate it.
Knutson’s concern is that the group that is proposing this apparently owns their own frequency: concern is that you take a private group and broadcast whatever they want.
Begich says they can broadcast whatever they want: it’s a public meeting and that’s what it’s about.
Ward agrees that Elvey will have the information for the Board.
Schedule next meeting with Mayor and Adjourn
Discussion about next meeting date for quarterly meeting with the Mayor: first two (2) weeks of November seems to be best for everyone’s schedule and, also, so Ward’s presentation might be ready.
Adjourn: 2:01 pm