Cordova residents worry about impacts of budget cuts on community

CORDOVA, Alaska As the state awaits the results of the budget, residents around the state are worried about what that might mean for their community.

In a fishing town, residents say the marine advisory program agent position has been integral to the community for the past 43 years.

In Cordova, residents hope they can maintain their Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent.

In a fishing town, residents say the marine advisory program agent position has been integral to the community for the past 43 years.

"Sea Grant has been training them in custom processing, they've been training fisherman in fish handling, that position has been a Cordova based position for 43 years. As our economy is exploding, there could not be a worse time to take a position like that out of circulation," said Clay Koplin, mayor of Cordova.

Dean of the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Bradley Moran explains that the long term agent retired in December of 2018, and although they had a part-time employee, there is currently a vacancy in the position, but there is no intention to remove the position at this time.

"It's just not possible for me to comment on that, I am hopeful that we will have, as we have had, a presence of Sea Grant in Cordova," said Moran.

Moran says they are just waiting on word from the legislature and Governor of what the budget cuts will be. "We're waiting to find out as a university, how we're going to be able to move forward, and yes, the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Alaska Sea Grant, the Marine Advisory Program, the College of Engineering and Mines, the Geophysical Institute, on and on, are all waiting for the same clarity so we can move our personnel and programs forward," said Moran.

Fisheries consultant Tommy Sheridan, says the town will feel budget cuts and the loss of positions like this. "A lot of folks are concerned about loss of ferry access, or service, really the loss of any family wage position here is felt throughout the community," said Moran.

For the remote town of Cordova, residents say the loss of these positions could have rippling effects.