Sea otters, SEAPA, and a budget revision are all on the agenda once again for tonight’s regular borough assembly meeting in Petersburg. The assembly will consider a resolution in support of the Sealaska Heritage Institutes Sustainable Arts project. The program teaches native artists and hunters how to preserve and sew sea otter pelts. The resolution urges the state legislature to provide more funds for the project, calling it, “an immediate and tangible way to deal with the growing sea otter populations by reintroducing the art of skin sewing.” Advocates hope the program will result in a bigger otter harvest by coastal Alaska Natives, who are the only people allowed to hunt the federally-protected animals. Meanwhile, a committee of local residents is still fine-tuning a separate resolution calling for state and federal action to address the impacts of sea otters on commercial and subsistence shellfish harvests in Southeast.

In other business, officials in Ketchikan and Wrangell want to move forward with an independent analysis of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency. The study would look at whether SEAPA’s two hydro-electric plants should be sold off to the town’s they serve. Petersburg is the other member of SEAPA, but the assembly has not yet formally decided whether to go forward with such an analysis. The assembly may discuss the issue tonight or choose to schedule a future work session on it.

The assembly will hold a public hearing and vote on the second of three readings for a revision to the current year’s budget. The changes include an additional 30-thousand dollars for finding a new police chief. There are also more than 50-thousand in additional costs as well as over 100-thousand dollars in unexpected revenue from full occupancy and an increase in the number of assisted living residents at Mountain View Manor. The revised spending plan also budgets for costs of transitioning to a borough government and moves money from various funds to pay for a 650-thousand dollar slope stabilization project at the landfill. That project will stockpile the mud dredged from North Harbor this summer at the dump site.

Also, the agenda includes an ordinance updating borough code on the Mountain View Manor Assisted Living wing. The new language reflects several changes that the municipality already put in place over the past year. That included a rent increase for self-pay units as well as the decision to classify all 20 apartments as “assisted living.” Eight of the wing’s apartments used to be considered “independent-living” only. Now, residents in those units can either receive assisted-living services or remain independent, depending on their situation.

There are a couple of contract awards tonight as well. That includes 17 thousand dollars for periodic safety inspections of the dams at the borough’s two reservoirs. Then there’s a 660 thousand dollar project to replace an aging waste-water pump station as well as a 98 thousand dollar contract amendment for the design of a new sewage main on South Nordic.

The assembly meets tonight at seven in the assembly chambers. KFSK will broadcast the meeting live. At 12:30 today, You can hear more about the agenda and call in with questions during “Borough Business” on KFSK.