Council Approves Scoping Work for Harbor Overhaul

Wednesday, January 23 2013

Less than a year after completing one small boat harbor, the City of Unalaska is beginning the process of overhauling the other one. City council voted Tuesday night to start scoping work for replacement of the floats at the Bobby Storrs harbor. 

“We want to build a dock that is similar to the Spit Dock and CEM [Carl E. Moses], so that we are maintaining like facilities," said Public Works director Nancy Peterson.

Peterson recommended giving the $22,000 contract for initial scoping work to the Juneau office of PND Engineering. She said the larger contract for the overall design could be put out to a competitive bid if the city isn’t happy with PND’s work, but she explained that the firm designed the floats for the Carl E. Moses harbor that the city would like to replicate.

“They know that float, they’ll know whether it can work, they’ll know the most cost effective way to approach it.”

Exactly how much the Bobby Storrs float replacement will cost is up in the air. The city has a $1.7 million matching grant from the state for the project, but when mayor pro tem Roger Rowland asked whether the project could be done for $3.5 million, city manager Chris Hladick said "no." Petersen said the scoping work should give a better idea of the total cost.

While several councilors expressed reservations about awarding no-bid contracts, the final vote was unanimous in favor of selecting PND. The scoping work should be completed by the end of the summer.

The city’s external auditor also presented at Tuesday night’s meeting. Dan Rozema with the accounting firm KPMG told council that the city had received a clean audit, despite some deficiencies in its reporting. He said problems with vetting contractors and making accurate reports to granting agencies had been fixed, and didn’t represent major errors. At the end of the presentation, mayor pro tem Rowland summarized:

“In other words, no one is running around taking money from somewhere and putting it somewhere else. I think that’s the point I want the public to get. Things might have been written on the wrong line here or there, but the money’s all okay. The money that we, by force of law, take from taxpayers is being accounted for properly and being used properly. So, thank you.”

City council also took action to update the value of the properties on its tax rolls. An appraiser will come to town this summer to assess the value of the city’s commercial, industrial, and residential properties, something which hasn’t been done comprehensively since 2008. Because of the timing of the assessment, it won't actually be used for tax calculations until 2015.

Council also voted to send Mayor Shirley Marquardt, and councilors Dennis Robinson, Dave Gregory and Zac Schasteen on this year’s legislative lobbying trip to Juneau.

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