Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Assembly approves traffic, nuisance, and litter ordinances


The Wrangell Borough Assembly held a swift meeting Tuesday night, breaking into executive session before the half hour was up.

Assembly members approved on second reading ordinances 909 and 910, amending elements of titles 9 and 11 of the Municipal Code relating to traffic, nuisance and litter violations. The changes add reference to the minor offense schedule in WMC 1.20.050 as well, and clean up sections of the code.

Ordinance 911 was passed on first reading, having been changed in significant ways since it was reviewed at the last meeting. Based on recommendations made by members of the Assembly and mayor, the existing requirement of a special permit from the Fire Department to burn rubbish or other combustibles outside.

Because 911 will be returning for final reading at the next meeting, the Assembly voted to hold second reading of Ordinance 912 as well. The ordinance amends the minor offense fine schedule in 1.20 to reflect the changes in the other ordinances.

In his borough manager's report, Jeff Jabusch said the city is out to bid on the sewer pump station project, with bids to be opened in early November. The million-dollar project will update two main pump stations, which are around 38 years old and nearing the ends of their service.

The city is still working with the United States Department of Agriculture on the considerable amount of paperwork needed for project funding. The Borough has been approved for a $68,000 grant and $91,000 loan, to be repaid at 2.875 percent interest.

However, he said the city needs to demonstrate it has clear title to the land the project will take place on, which may be problematic. A more substantial share of funding from the state – around $728,000 – is contingent on a project completion date of June 30, 2016. If the USDA requirements continue to cause delays, Jabusch said the Borough plans to move forward without its assistance, instead opting for a Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation loan for $190,000 at 1.5 percent interest.

Besides the loans, the city's share of costs will come to approximately $78,000.

Jabusch and city finance director Lee Burgess will also be heading to Craig next month in order to try out the city's accounting software. The programming Wrangell uses is two decades old, and will no longer receive technical support in a few years. Because of the time it takes to schedule a change-over and implement a new accounting system, Jabusch explained it would be important to get a jump on things sooner rather than later.

Bids are also out for the courtroom remodel, which Jabusch expects will be a good winter project. $350,000 has been allotted for the upgrades, with costs assumed by the Borough upfront, to be repaid by the Alaska Court System with interest over a 15- to 20-year period.

Request for proposals for developing the Mill and Institute sites went out last week, and will be opened on Friday. A selection committee will grade applications and bring a preferred choice to the Assembly for approval at its Nov. 10 meeting.

Wrangell Municipal Light and Power staff may be bringing a request for an electric rate study to the Assembly's next meeting on Nov. 10.

Assembly members also approved a resolution amending a job description for the Library Assistant I position, adding interlibrary loan requests and the summer reading program to listed duties, while requiring the position to work Saturdays and one evening per week.

Certificates of service were also awarded for outgoing commission and committee members: Betty Keegan and Rudy Briskar, Planning and Zoning; Dan Rudy, Parks and Recreation; Daniel Blake, Marlene Clark and Mark Mitchell, Economic Development; and Keene Kohrt and Valeri Ni Heideain, Nolan Museum Board.

The meeting withdrew into executive session, to discuss the borough manager's evaluation.


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