On Monday, December 22, at 4PM the Igiugig Village Council convened for the annual meeting, election, and Christmas party. Chief Financial Officer, Sandy Alvarez, provided the financial overview for 2014, including BIA funds, fixed assets, and the electric utility. Overall, greenhouse sales doubled from last year, but fuel, electric, rentals, gift shop, etc. stayed fairly constant. In 2014, IVC hired 40 employees in a village population of 64. The local hire rate was 93% and the local wages were 99%.
The end of October and November was filled with meetings:
- Monthly IVC meeting.
- Joint ILC and IVC meetings and a summit at Iliaska Lodge to brainstorm its future.
- LPSD School Board met in Igiugig on October 30th to present Igiugig School with the 5 Star School banner.
- November 12 was a Hazard and Mitigation Plan update workshop.
- November 13 was The Salmon Project convening at Alyeska
October has been the busiest work month. It kicked off with a visit from UAF students, KattiJo and her husband Jeff, to meet with the council on developing our ecotourism goals. We were able to take them on a fishing trip downriver, and then a four-wheeler ride up the beach to provide a good “lay of the land” and fun activities in our community.
We also had the roving VPSO stop in for a night, but he did not have enough time to deliver the new Search and Rescue boats to the Lake Iliamna communities. IVC ended up with providing a means to deliver all the boats safely – thanks to Terry, Tony, Sherry, and Terek!
This past month we conclude our fiscal year end. Luckily, we also wrapped up our very first hydrokinetic deployment project: "We are thrilled with the successful demonstration of the self-deployment and power generation features of our system and the lessons learned will be invaluable to us as we complete our commercial design of RivGen® next year," said ORPC President & CEO Chris Sauer. He added "We are indebted to our Alaska-based project team, the Village of Igiugig, and the local contractors whose professionalism, ingenuity and perseverance really paid off." In Alaska, the company has invested over $2.6 million since 2009 and has built a supply chain of over 50 partners and contractors throughout the state, including the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and Anchorage. Since 2007, ORPC has invested more than $25 million into the Maine economy and created or retained more than 100 jobs statewide. The RivGen® Power System Commercialization Project was funded in part by the Denali Commission and its partner, the Alaska Energy Authority. (ORPC Press Release, 09.23.14).
Some days it looks as though the hangar has been ransacked. We do our best. The village has been bustling with the end of summer activity. We still have all kinds of visitors to the village. Most notably, the University of Washington is in town completing a turbulence and acoustic study on the RivGen turbine. On August 15th the Environmental Protection Agency hosted a public comment hearing on their Proposed Determination to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale development. This attracted a crowd from Dillingham, the lodges, the locals, and the Pebble Limited Partnership with people to testify for or against the determination. The comment deadline is September 19th. On the 19th, the Lake and Peninsula Borough Assembly, Planning Commission, and representatives from the Department of Transportation (about 20 people total) toured Igiugig to see the RISEC project and other developments of interest. Thereafter, Fish and Game showed up to issue hunting and fishing permits. On August 19th we embraced the first day of school and celebrated it with the Annual Back to School Potluck on the 24th. So, as usual when it rains it pours here!
The month of July passed in the blink of an eye. I had an atypical summer waiting in the city for Baby #2 so I was out of the office and didn’t split one fish! Without the preoccupation of hangar traffic and subsistence activities, I was able to concentrate on a few IVC priorities: 1) finalize the audit for printing, 2) budget our 2014 housing funds, 3) prepare the budget and work plan for the new emergency building, 4) review the plan for opening a new gravel pit on Float Plane Lake Road, 5) coordinate the shipment of our new Emergency Patient Transport Vehicle to Igiugig, 6) begin the application process for a duplex, and 7) stay apprised of the RISEC project implementation.
CIP Projects: A Lesson in the CIP State Funding Process
Do you recall that seven months ago we had a voting bulletin at the hangar for prioritizing Igiugig’s Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Requests? The community had a chance to mention projects they thought the village needed, or vote on the top 5 projects that administration should pursue. Well, those projects were then adopted by resolution to be Igiugig’s priorities. This year we submitted two small requests 1) water distribution line improvements, 2) Emergency Response Vehicle Building. The Borough also submitted, on our behalf, for a wind feasibility study of $80,000. The Borough, working in conjunction with IVC, submits the projects into the state database. The next phase is to write letters of support to representatives in the House and Senate. Once the projects survive vetoes from both houses, it lands on the desk of the Governor. Another letter of support gets submitted to the Governor and Director of Office of Management and Budget and thank-you notes get sent to the legislators for supporting the projects. And then we wait. Many times, our projects do not make the cut. But this year, it looks like we were spared and should receive $40,000 for ERVB and $80,000 for the wind feasibility study. Funds will be available after July 1st when the state fiscal year 2015 begins. So by the time we are confirmed for funding of one project, it is nearly time to start prepping to request the next!