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Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference

Newsletter - September 2021


Welcome to the combined August and September newsletter! Between an ever increasing workload, travel, and our Economic Development Specialist Laura Vaught getting married on an Alaskan mountaintop (Congrats!!), the August newsletter never materialized. In early August, SWAMC staff traveled to Fairbanks to attend the AML Summer Legislative Conference, and then in late August, staff sailed on the Tustumena from Kodiak down the chain to Unalaska. This trip was extremely valuable, and we were able to meet and talk with Municipal, Tribal, and Local Government leaders in Kodiak, Chignik, Sand Point and Unalaska. We hope to visit other communities in the next several months depending on the pandemic situation and interest in onsite presentations to the public.

Interest in investments in mariculture projects in our region continue to grow, but will take time to plan and we are poised to support the investors as they do their due diligence in the region. We are planning for a mariculture education and training program this winter and hope to be able to present this project in our October or November newsletter. 

Our Regional Economic Recovery and Resiliency Plan has moved beyond the online survey to phone interviews (person-to-person when possible) and we are gathering valuable information regionwide. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is in full swing with billions of dollars available for non-construction (think feasibility studies, design, and engineering) and construction projects that will increase the resiliency of our communities in times of economic upheaval or disasters. There are six different pots of funding available under the Economic Development Administration, and they all have different eligibility requirements and deadlines for applications. 

SWAMC has brought Keri Scaggs back on board (you may remember her from our CARES Act FORWARD program) to work with municipalities, tribal entities, and others to help them find the best fit for funding as well as navigate application processes. This level of federal funding has never been seen before, and most likely never will be seen again. Please contact Keri at (907) 242-4077 or arpa@swamc.org if you are interested in her assistance matching your project with a funding opportunity. 

We will be concentrating our efforts on our current SWAMC members, so if you have not yet renewed your membership (our FY22 membership term is July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022), please do so now! If you have not been a SWAMC member before, now is a very good time to join. Learn more at www.swamc.org/membership.


Take care,

Shirley Marquardt, Executive Director

Open Municipal Seat on SWAMC Board

The SWAMC Board of Directors has a Municipal seat open due to a resignation. In accordance with our Bylaws, this vacancy is being posted for 30 days to solicit nominees to fill the seat temporarily until the next annual Membership Meeting, which will be held March 4, 2022. Any Municipal member of good standing (FY22 membership dues must be paid) may declare their candidacy. To check current membership status, visit our online Membership Directory, which is updated daily.

The deadline to submit nomination forms is Friday, October 15. The SWAMC Board of Directors will appoint a nominee to this open seat at their regular October Board meeting, scheduled for Thursday, October 21.

More Information

Broadband-in-a-Box Project Finalized

The SWAMC Broadband-in-a-Box project has been completed and the final Plan is available for review on our website. SWAMC contracted with Alaska Tribal Broadband (ATB) to develop this Plan for Southwest Alaska to help our regional tribes and communities prepare to access broadband improvements as soon as possible by utilizing their tribal 2.5 GHz spectrum as the broadband asset core of their last mile infrastructure, and to interconnect that last mile with the appropriate planned middle mile, whether fiber or satellite, expected to be available in late 2021. Each individual community can use this plan to make decisions based on the best fit for their needs after consideration of current and/or evolving service providers or consortiums. To support this, the Plan includes operations support recommendations, capital and expense budgets, and potential sources of funding.

This Plan provides information that communities can use immediately in several ways, including to apply for any funding from state, federal, or private sources that would enable deployment. ATB has already used this Plan in their work with at least 27 tribal communities in the SWAMC region over the past month as they worked round the clock to help Alaska tribes apply to a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant by the September 1 deadline.

The “Broadband-in-a-Box” Plan can be found by clicking the link below. Contact information for ATB representatives is included on the second page for tribes and communities reviewing the plan to follow-up with specific questions. 

SWAMC Broadband Plan

Have an announcement or story to share with the region?

Let us know! We may be able to include it in our next newsletter.

Call (907) 562-7380 or email lvaught@swamc.org.


  • Shirley Marquardt, Executive Director
  • Laura Vaught, Economic Development Specialist
  • Brooks Duncan, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer

SWAMC Board of Directors

  • Paul Gronholdt - President
  • Terry Haines - Vice President
  • Mary Swain - Treasurer
  • Layton Lockett
  • Myra Olsen
  • Dennis Robinson
  • Mayor Alice Ruby
  • Darren Muller
  • Joe Sullivan
  • Glen Gardner, Jr.
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