by Azara Mohmmadi
The Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) Executive Board passed a resolution on March 1, 2019, objecting to Governor Dunleavy’s proposed 2020 budget. In a special telephonic meeting, the Board asserted that the proposed budget will have deleterious effects on the people, communities, and Tribes of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta. The proposed budget will result in direct negative impacts to the basic human needs of the region, including public safety, utility costs, health, early childhood education, higher education, rural transportation and legal services.
AVCP Chief Executive Officer, Vivian Korthuis, recognizes the intent behind the proposed budget is to create space for conversation. In her assessment, at the heart of this conversation lies the question: what is the role of the State of Alaska in the lives of Alaskans residing in the 48 communities of Western Alaska?
AVCP is researching the potential damage of the proposed budget to the YK Delta. Many AVCP tribal consortium programs to tribes, and benefits to communities, would be reduced. As the voice of the region, AVCP is communicating with tribal representatives and with the Alaska Legislature on impacted programs like Village Public Safety Officers, Head Start and Power Cost Equalization (PCE). PCE alone contributes up to $15 million annually to the economy of the YK Delta region.
Chair of the AVCP Executive Board Raymond Watson states “The AVCP Board remains optimistic that the Governor and Legislature will rethink funding structures, and implement a more equitable budget that is fair to rural Alaskans.”
AVCP is a regional nonprofit tribal consortium comprised of the 56 federally recognized tribes of the YK Delta. The geographic boundaries of AVCP extend from the Yukon River Village of Russian Mission downstream to the Bering Sea coast, north up through Kotlik and south along the coastline to Platinum and then extending up the Kuskokwim River to Stony River, including Lime Village on the Stony River tributary. The area encompasses approximately 6.5 million acres, or 55,000 square miles, in Western Alaska.