The Petersburg Assembly will try again to move ahead with a borough-wide bed tax during a regular meeting which starts at noon on Monday. The four percent tax on hotel rooms and other accommodation has long been in place within the former city boundaries. The ordinance would extend it borough-wide. It includes a special provision for businesses that offer the room as part of a combined-package along with meals and fishing. Rather than charging the room tax on the whole bill, the bed tax would only have applied to 30 percent of the package price. However, the assembly voted down the ordinance last month in response to concern from a local lodge owner, who said the actual room was a much smaller part of the bill that guests pay. The new version of the ordinance would apply the room tax to just 15 percent of the package price instead. It’s up for a vote in first reading Monday.
The assembly will take a final vote on extending Petersburg’s six-percent sales tax borough-wide. The measure passed unanimously in the first two readings with no comments from the assembly or the public last month.
In other business, the Assembly will consider having the Alaska Department of Natural Resources temporarily retain planning and platting authority for most areas of the borough that are outside the former city limits. That’s at least until after the borough appoints a planning commission, which currently has no members. The decision would not apply to the City of Kupreanof, which retains its own, separate planning authority under borough charter.
Monday’s agenda also includes a resolution against genetically-modified salmon. The U-S Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the application of a Massachusetts company which wants to produce the animals for human consumption. FDA’s preliminary finding is that the plan would not have a significant impact on the U.S. environment. The assembly’s proposed resolution challenges that finding with a variety of environmental, economic and human health concerns.
In other issues:
– The Assembly will approve a process for deciding whether to retain or disband various advisory boards and committees that were in place under city government.
– Assembly members will consider endorsing a Department of Fish and Game budget request for more salmon stream survey funding.
-They’ll review a plan to replace the Mountain View Manor van.
-The Assembly will also consider sending a letter of support for state funding to help Petersburg Mental Health Services buy and renovate a building to serve as its new facility.
-And they’ll discuss a Federal Highway Administration invitation for the Borough to participate in the planning process for a proposed road and ferry between Petersburg to Kake.
At the end of the meeting, the Assembly is scheduled to have a closed-door executive session about contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
For the first time, the regular assembly meeting will take place during the day instead of the evening. That’s part of an effort to make the meetings more accessible to borough residents who live further away. The assembly convenes at noon Monday. KFSK will broadcast it live.