Utility bill subsidies, mil rates, and other meaty topics are on the menu for the Assembly tonight (5-10-16). We’ve got you covered.

The Assembly meets at 5 p.m. tonight (5-10-16) for a work session on municipal lands. The Planning Commission recently conducted a land use inventory, assessing all parcels within the Sitka road system. Maegan Bosak, Planning and Community Development Director, will present the inventory’s findings tonight.

Here is the Assembly Agenda for 5/10/16

And during its regular meeting, the Assembly will discuss increasing the millage rate, imposing a vehicle registration tax, and eliminating the sales tax on groceries. No vote is expected from the Assembly on these three issues. But they are key provisions of a plan by the Citizens’ Task Force, called the Grand Bargain, to raise the mil rate from 6 to 8 mills. 

Assessor Wendy Lawrence will talk about mil rate structure. In a memo, she said it’s time for Sitka to discuss its fiscal policies amid reductions in state and federal support.

The Assembly will also hear, on first reading, an ordinance to subsidize utility costs for low-income homeowners. The ordinance is sponsored by Assemblyman Tristan Guevin and Bob Potrzuski. See a draft of the ordinance here: Ord 2016-15.

Under their proposed program, the city would pay some of the monthly utility bill on behalf of eligible homeowners. Subsidization may be revoked any time. Homeowners qualify if they are receiving or seeking assistance from a list of local and state agencies, such as the Division of Public Assistance. Families with children who qualify for the School District’s Free-or-Reduced Lunch Program would qualify too.

A draft of this ordinance appeared on the agenda last meeting, but was pulled by Guevin and Potrzuski for further development.

On Thursday (5-5-16), the Assembly summarily dismissed city attorney Robin Schmid and appointed Brian Hanson as acting attorney. The decision came about after Schmid hired a lawyer to question her resignation, which the Assembly requested during annual evaluations. During their meeting tonight, the Assembly will discuss interim legal services and hiring a new city attorney.

In new business, the Assembly will vote on the city’s contribution to Sitka Schools. The school board, which passed the FY17 budget in April, planned for direct municipal support to the tune of $6.6 million and $150,000 for building repair and maintenance.

And in old business, the Assembly will revisit a proposal to allow short-term rentals on boats on a conditional use basis. This idea was approved by the Planning Commission and passed unanimously at the last Assembly meeting. In a memo, planners said that renting boats to tourists would alleviate impacts on the existing rental market and increase bed tax.

Also in the Assembly packet is a joint letter announcing the two hospitals have selected ECG Management Consultants to draft a collaborative management proposal. SEARHC Hospital CEO Charles Clement and Sitka Community Hospital CEO Rob Allen are renewing talks between the two institutions about where their medical services overlap and how to collaborate.  The Assembly approved the project in February

The Sitka Assembly meets at 5 p.m. tonight in Room 229 at UAS for a work session. Raven Radio will join the meeting live in progress at 6 p.m. after Alaska News Nightly.