Petersburg’s Borough Assembly will meet today at 6 p.m. In response to a high volume of public inquiries, Assembly Member Thomas Fine-Walsh will report on the safety measures the Borough’s Human Resources Department implemented after a fatal accident in 2016. 

On July 4th of that year, Parks and Recreation employee William Christopher Allen suffered a seizure while driving a Borough van. The ensuing crash took the lives of his fellow Parks and Recreation employees, 18-year-old Molly Parks and 19-year-old Marie Giesbrecht.

Following that, a Ph.D. student from Pennsylvania State University will brief the community on his research on the effects of tourism in small towns across Southeast Alaska. Ryan Naylor conducted research in Petersburg, Wrangell, and Ketchikan from May 2022 to January 2023. He explored how residents experience the impacts of tourism. Naylor has returned for a community engagement trip to look at ways to give back to the community.

The Assembly’s first item of unfinished business is to complete the final reading of an ordinance to adjust the 2023 Budget. The ordinance includes twelve budget adjustments. Among them is a proposal to transfer fifty percent of the Borough’s General Fund surplus from last year to the Property Development Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to support the purchase, development, and improvement of property owned by the Borough. This ordinance was unanimously approved in its first and second readings.

The Assembly will also complete its second of three readings of an ordinance to update local amendments to adhere to international building requirements for snow load and insulation. The Assembly unanimously approved this ordinance in its first reading.

In new business, the Assembly will review a resolution to approve the Hospital Board’s site selection for a new hospital facility. It would also allow the Board to take the next steps to rezone the site and proceed with pre-construction contracting. 

The Assembly will also review a resolution that would accept about $56,000 in grant funding from the State of Alaska Department of Health. The resolution would commit about $29,000 of these funds towards local emergency planning supplies, about $17,000 towards a microscope with a camera attachment for the Petersburg Medical Center lab, and about $10,000 towards chain link fencing and safety materials for the Mort Fryer Ball Fields.

Finally, the Assembly will hear 2023 property tax assessment appeals. The Appraisal Company of Alaska will brief the Borough on the property valuation process for Petersburg. This year, 67 appeals were filed, including one appeal filed after the deadline. Of these, 46 appeals have been resolved. 

Petersburg’s Borough Assembly will meet at 6 p.m. in the assembly chambers. KFSK will broadcast that live and post the recording on our website. Anyone from the community can join the meeting in person, by phone, or on Zoom. There’s more information on KFSK’s community calendar.