2030 comprehensive plan proposal

Following with regulations from the state of Alaska, the assembly discussed the current bid for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan from Sheinberg and Associates.

The plan would cover goals in community development and policies for the next ten years in Skagway.

“It is Planning and Zoning’s responsibility to update it every ten years,” sssemblyman Tim Cochran said.

The current proposal shows an increase in cost of $50,000, from the previous comprehensive plan.

“I think while Sheinberg and Associates does a good job, it is quite an increase,” Cochran said.

“It appears that the state requirements are fairly minimal and we should look at this comp plan relative to the value we’re actually getting,” assemblyman David Brena said

The assembly initially had budgeted $80,000 for the completion of the comprehensive plan.

“We shouldn’t be shocked someone is bidding $80,000 for it and think that’s too much for what they’re proposing,” assemblyman Steve Burnham said.

Burnham further explained that he thought that Sheinberg was most likely trying to provide Skagway with the most for what the Borough was budgeting.

“If we thought 80 was too much, we should have budgeted 30 or 40,” Burnham said.

Mayor Monica Carlson put forth that the previous comprehensive plan is an integral document for assembly members that helps them see where community envisions the Borough going.

The next step for the comprehensive plan will be a review by planning and zoning for scope and  content review.

Mollie Wash Restroom Expansion

The schedule of values for the expansion for the Mollie Wash Restroom expansion was received from the bidders and reviewed by public works.

Initially, public works had thought that the bids were high given the scope of the restroom expansion.

After review from the public works director and the engineer, both were in agreement that everything that should be in the bid was accounted for.

The public works director recommended that the assembly move forward with the lowest bid.

The lowest bid came from Island Contractors at an amount of $347,484 was approved by the assembly.

A budget amendment is planned for the next meeting to account for the expansion.


Moe property acquisition

The assembly discussed the Moe property, which has been appraised by Baxter and Sullivan at $640,000 and is located across the tracks by Spring Street, and the possibility of the Borough purchasing the property.

Skagway had received a letter asking if they would like to place a bid on the property.

The Borough has assessed the property at $200,400 and would enter a bid at that amount.

The difference in the amount comes from Baxter and Sullivan appraising the property as a part of the historic district in Skagway.

The bidding for the property is open and it has been not reserved for purchase by the Borough.

There aren’t any roads or infrastructure at the property, so the buyer would be responsible for taking care

of that.

“You’re looking a lot of costs, that I feel should have been deducted from the appraised value,” Brena said.

The Borough passed the motion to place the initial bid on the property.

Stream Walk moving forward

The Stream Walk, a proposed improvement to the trails along the stream going through Skagway was brought into discussion.

In addition, the borough manager at that time proposed that funding towards phase 2 could be put towards phase 1.

The second phase involves the path traveling the bridge accessing the lower Dewey trailhead and through the Westmark property to Spring Street to Mollie Walsh and City Hall.

One of the issues facing the Stream Walk is the passage through private property, which would have to be obtained from Westmark.

“As the ships get bigger, there are going to be more people looking to get off Broadway,” Mayor Carlson said.

Assemblyman Dave Brena noted that the Borough should seek to get approval from the property owners before trying to move any further with the project.

“I encourage anything that gets pedestrians out of the road,” Orion Hanson said.

He also remarked on the dangers that visitors to Skagway face off of Broadway.

The project comes from a grant that expires in 2020, and Cochran suggested that there is time to discuss the matter with the property owners.

“If we come to an impasse, we can come back and look at obligating the remaining funds,” Cochran said.

“We’re looking at new avenues that parks and rec are going to have to maintain. If it’s not easily maintainable, I don’t think we should do it,” Steve Burnham said.

Steve Burnham also brought up that if there’s a need for a sidewalk for Spring Street, it should be brought to public safety.

“I wonder if this phase 2 money is actually for a walking path to view a stream, or if it’s for a sidewalk to get people out of our thoroughfare,” Steve Burnham said.

Since the proposed sidewalk goes by the area near AP&T, it could create an even worse chokepoint, Brena said.

“I understand the concern on the chokepoint, but the Stream Walk isn’t the solution to the chokepoint,” Brena said.

The assembly decided to pass the motion to allocate the funds in a four to two vote.

Port of Skagway RFI responses

The Borough of Skagway sent out request for information (RFI) to parties and businesses interested in the Port of Skagway.

There were responses from eight different parties.

Mayor Carlson broke down the possibilities for the port into three options: the Borough completely controls the port, the Borough partners with another party for control of the port, or the Borough negotiates a lease with an interested party.

Assemblyman Hanson voiced his disapproval with the option of Skagway going it alone, and the time that the Borough was taking with making a decision on the waterfront.

Hanson pointed out that a lot of the responses to the RFI were more generic.

“I think the bottom line for assembly members is that we get the best deal for the town,” Hanson said.

Assemblyman Cochran iterated that there was still time and that he wanted to see Skagway handle the port in the best way possible, but also made the point of keeping the industrial port in mind.

Assemblyman Brena noted that four of the responders to the RFI are capable of partnering with Skagway: Global Ports Holdings, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Carribean and Klondike Holdings. He noted that the next best step would be put out on a request for proposal for consulting.

Mayor Carlson made a call for a special meeting for further discussion of the port.


Borough manager search moves to phone interviews

The Borough of Skagway has narrowed the search for a new borough manager down to three applicants and the next step will be phone interviews.

In a recent session to discuss the search, the manager search committee, consisting of Assemblymen Brena, Hanson and Henry, discussed the next steps for the potential candidates.

A decision was reached that all three candidates will be interviewed by the entire board.

An in-person interview will then be conducted for candidates that pass the phone interview. The committee reviewed the candidates’ background checks and found no reason for any applicant to be dismissed.