Discussion of renewing the SMART municipal transportation contract, which ends in April, is close to being complete, but Skagway municipal officials want to give the contract another good look by Borough Manager Scott Hahn.
During Skagway Borough Assembly discussion at a September 18 meeting, Assemblyman Gary Hanson said he has heard from inquiries to the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Skagway Police Department that SMART owner Stuart Brown is doing a good job and added there were no major complaints about his shuttle company.
Assemblyman Tim Cochran said he discussed a contract extension with Skagway’s Public Safety Committee, and the committee is happy with the job Brown is doing.
“We recommended we should pass it on to the assembly for approval,” Cochran said.
The only opposition to a renewed SMART contract came from Monica Carlson, who said she thinks the contract should go out to bid because there might be a better opportunity out there for the municipality.
Brown said he looks forward to receiving an extension as soon as possible and has missed out on good bus purchase opportunities because, as of now, the future of his contract is uncertain.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel (with this contract),” he said. “If you like the job I’m doing . . . if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But the assembly decided it needed to wait for Borough Manager Hahn to get in on the discussion, because he was absent that night.
“You do a good job, you have good buses — I don’t see any reason to rush it,” said Mayor Mark Schaefer, who recommended they wait till Hahn returns.
Not only does Brown need a contract to move forward with maintenance purchases, such as new tires for buses, he also is in discussions with Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park about shuttling its visitors to Dyea to allow them to visit the historic townsite.
Earlier in the meeting, Klondike Gold Rush NHP Superintendent Mike Tranel said this is something parks are doing throughout the country.
“Contracted bus service is generally funded through grants for the National Park Service,” he said.
But in order to enter a discussion with the park, Brown needs to square away his contract with the municipality.
Brown said he needs a contract document by December in order to get the wheels, but the earlier the better. The contract extension would be for five years and would end in 2019.– KE