When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (1-12-20), it will consider whether to issue a new “request for proposals” seeking bids to build a privately-run marine haulout at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. 

Sitkans began calling for the city to build a haulout after Halibut Point Marine, which operates Sitka’s lone large vessel haulout, announced it would be closing the operation sometime in the next couple of years. The project has been tossed back and forth between the Assembly and the GPIP (Guh-Pip) board ever since, and not everyone is in agreement over whether a public or private option is best. City staff have sought federal funding, but haven’t had any luck. The newest RFP specifies that developers must be able to privately fund the haulout project, quote “furnishing all financing, labor, materials, equipment, tools, supervision, and other facilities.”

When the assembly last met to finalize the new RFP, the group voted to postpone the item because they didn’t have the most up-to-date document in front of them. At that meeting, they heard from a group of fishermen looking to develop an interim option

The assembly will also consider the possible sale of the Sitka Community Hospital building and land. The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has expressed interest in purchasing the property it currently leases as it prepares for a multi-million dollar hospital expansion project over the next five years.

When it met in December, it voted to direct staff to begin the first stages of the sale process. Tonight the assembly will discuss whether it wants to put the property out to competitive bid and whether it will seek public input on the property sale through an “advisory” vote. 

In other business, the assembly will consider which members of the public to appoint to a new climate action task force and, in an executive session, will discuss matters relating to the closeout of the former Sitka Community Hospital.

Read the full agenda here

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. tonight. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.