The Sitka Assembly will review an electricity incentive program for commercial users, a non-discrimination ordinance, and several requests to appropriate money at their meeting tonight (11-28-17). 

See full agenda here: 171128_assemblyagenda

Ever since the Blue Lake Dam was built, the Electric Department has focused on bringing customers online – growing the load to reduce rates. Three weeks ago (11-07-17), Mayor Matthew Hunter and Assembly member Kevin Knox co-sponsored an incentive program to sweeten the deal for “large” customers and attract business to Sitka. “Large” was defined as a customer that would pay over $125,000 a year in electricity. 

The ordinance was contested by some members of the Assembly and sent to a committee, made up of Knox, Assembly members Richard Wein and Aaron Bean. Under their modified version (Ord 2017-39S), which will be presented for first and final reading tonight (11-28-17), a business need only exceed $75,000 in electric bills to qualify for the discounted rate. Furthermore, the discounted rate lasts for three years. 

On first reading, the Assembly will review a non-discrimination ordinance (2017-42to protect current and prospective city employees and on second and final reading, they’ll vote on whether to donate $5000 from the Visitor Enhancement Fund towards renovations at St. Michael’s Cathedral (Ord 2017-37). They’ll also approve the necessary paperwork to purchase display cabinets for the William Stortz Gallery in City Hall (Ord 2017-38). The cabinets will be entirely paid for by a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation.

And speaking of grant money, a volunteer group is expected to receive funding from both Rasmuson and the Land and Water Conservation Fund to build a newly reimagined playground at Crescent Harbor. But, in order to get the money, the city must guarantee matching funds. The Assembly will consider appropriating $362,000 dollars for the Sitka Community playground project on first reading tonight (Ord 2017-40).

The Assembly will also hear a report about Northern Edge (Exercise Update), a training exercise for military aircraft, and its impacts to marine wildlife. Northern Edge was conducted this May in the Gulf of Alaska. The Assembly may also appoint Shauna Thornton to the Port and Harbors Commission and enter into executive session to discuss a legal matter involving an undisclosed contract claim.

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. tonight in Harrigan Centennial Hall. Raven Radio will join the meeting live in progress immediately following Alaska News Nightly.