Local News

Blue Lake, sales tax holidays on new Assembly’s agenda

Blue Lake overflows its spillway in September. The Assembly will decide Tuesday whether to apply for permission to issue more than $80 million in bonds to fund the dam’s expansion. (Photo by Ted Laufenberg)

Sitka’s new mayor and Assembly members will be sworn in Tuesday at Harrigan Centennial Hall, and they won’t have long to wait before making some big decisions.

The Assembly will decide whether to apply for permission to issue more than $80 million in bonds, to help fund the Blue Lake dam expansion. Tuesday’s vote doesn’t issue the bonds. It merely asks the Alaska Municipal Bond bank for permission to do so.

City Finance Director Jay Sweeney says the city will likely issue bonds up to $30 million in February. Anything beyond that would depend on how much funding comes from the state or other sources. Sweeney says the city can issue revenue bonds without a public vote.

The Assembly tonight will also decide whether to designate sales tax holidays. In recent years, the city has suspended its sales tax for two days, usually right after Thanksgiving. One option tonight would keep those dates. A second would put one of the holidays at the end of this month, and another on the day after Thanksgiving.

CLICK TO ENLARGE. Pacific High School’s redesign includes a more traditionally sloped roof, which addresses concerns the Sitka Assembly expressed in January. (Image: McCool Carlson Green Architects)

Also on the table tonight: Approval of a $1.9 million construction contract to renovate Pacific High School. The deal would go to Homer-based Sunland Development, which was the lowest bidder. Voters approved funding for the project in 2010. Nearly two thirds of the project is paid for by the state.

The Pacific High question is early enough on the agenda that it’s likely to be heard by the outgoing Assembly, before newly elected members are sworn in.

Tonight’s meeting is the last for Mayor Cheryl Westover and Assembly member Bill Paden. Mim McConnell will move into the mayor’s seat, Phyllis Hackett will continue on the Assembly, and Matt Hunter and Michelle Putz will join the table.

The meeting gets started at 6 p.m. inside Centennial Hall, with an hour-long work session beforehand, to hear the city’s fourth-quarter financial results. Raven Radio will begin live coverage on-air at 6 p.m.

You can listen online by clicking “Listen Live” at 6 p.m. AKDT.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Yakutat off the air

pleasestandby_web
Yakutat is temporarily off the air. We've got our engineers looking into the problem, and we hope to have things back up and running shortly. Thank you so much for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience. more

Native language bill has personal meaning for Sitka family

Jessie Johnnie's speech was recorded by X̱'unei Lance Twitchell in September 2011. He asked her what students of the Tlingit language need in order to succeed.
Twenty Native languages, including Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, became official state languages on Thursday, Oct. 23. For Sitka resident Heather Powell, the signing marked a personal victory for a member of her family. more