Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht along with Mayor Mark Jensen and Assemblyman Bob Lynn attended the Alaska Municipal League winter legislative meeting this week in Juneau and at the meeting they will likely report on their participation there.
The assembly will consider a letter by resident, Holly Winje, which asks the borough to stop adding sodium fluoride to its drinking water supply.
Resident, Janet Holten has resigned as Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission. In a letter to the borough she sites time constraints as her reason for stepping down.
Also at the meeting a new police officer will be administered the oath of office by Deputy Clerk Mindy Swihart.
Up for a final reading is an ordinance that changes language in the Local Improvement Code.
In new business, assembly will consider amending the Petersburg Municipal Code regarding timing requirements for elections. If adopted, it would change the language regarding times to submit initiatives or referendum to local voters between the Borough Code and Borough Charter. It would also remove any mandate to hold a special election for petitions. Instead, it would submit the issue to the voters at the next regular or special election occurring more than 90 days after the Clerk’s certification.
Assembly will also consider a resolution that seeks a different allocation method for Central Southeast communities in the Shared Fisheries Business Tax Program for this year. The resolution requests that all municipalities share 50 percent of the allocation equally and then the rest would be shared on a per capita basis.
The assembly will consider seeking funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. According to the borough’s federal lobbyist, the Trump Administration is looking for specific information on shovel ready projects related to transportation and tourism. The lobbyist requests the assembly choose one or two priority projects under $2 million dollars to submit to the EDA. There is only one project that would be shovel-ready by year’s end and that’s the addition of ADA ramps to the South Harbor, which would help people with disabilities. That project has a price tag of just over $2 million.
The assembly will also be considering federal priorities in general for Fiscal Year 2018. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has requested the priorities be submitted to her by the end of March. On the list is funding for Secure Rural Schools, which is federal dollars that go to schools and municipalities near national forests in place of money that could come from a timber industry. The funding was re-authorized for two years in 2015 by Congress but it hasn’t been funded again. The school district gets $600,000 a year from that program through the borough.
Another priority on the list is PILT funding or Payment in Lieu of Taxes. They are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries.
Another priority is Army Corps of Engineers work in South Harbor through Section 107 of the 1960 River and Harbor Act. Basically, it allows the federal agency to study, plan, and construct small navigation projects that have not been authorized by Congress.
Other items on the borough’s priority list include pink salmon disaster funding and Scow Bay Haul Out, as well as several others. The borough assembly will consider the priorities and decide what to send to Murkowski’s office.
The assembly chambers are still upstairs in the municipal building but the space has been renovated. It features new video screens for presentations and a new audio system with speakers in the ceiling. The meeting is open to the public. KFSK will also be broadcasting the meeting live.