Local News

Assembly on TBPA, SEAPA and AICS

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The Borough Assembly on Tuesday discussed finances, timberlands and the Thomas Bay Power Authority.

The assembly approved a reimbursement for Alaska Island Community Services.

The city is paying AICS $100,000 to help with relocation costs for the new clinic.

Interim Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch recommended the money come out of the city’s Economic Recovery Fund.

Wrangell City Hall – Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK

Assembly and community members agreed the new clinic is worth the money. But many were unhappy with the way the reimbursement agreement was handled.

Rhonda Christian spoke during the public comment period.

“I think the assembly should reconsider the commitment. But it was never brought forth in the assembly. I went back and I looked back at the minutes—I may have missed something—but I went back and I looked for the minutes for this specific discussion to take place and I have not been able to find anything,” said Christian.

Assembly member James Stough said he thinks the clinic is a worthwhile expenditure, but there should have been more transparency.

“All three of us agree that this is both an economic development priority of our community as well as a quality of life issue for our community. I’m in agreement with the comments that were made that it should have come in front of the council. It is a large sum of money,” said Stough.

Another medical topic up for discussion was the revised Wrangell Medical Center Personnel Policies.

That item was a carry-over from July’s meeting.

The assembly decided to table it once again until September.

The Thomas Bay Power Authority and the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, or SEAPA, were major points of contention at the meeting.

After more than a half an hour of debate and discontent over various options for the future of Wrangell’s power, the assembly decided to hold off on making any decisions until the next meeting.

The Wrangell and Petersburg Borough Assemblies are meeting here in Wrangell on September tenth.

It will be a joint work session to discuss both communities’ roles and investments in the two agencies.

Finally, the assembly approved sending a letter of support to transfer two million acres of Tongass timberland to the State of Alaska.

Assembly member Ernie Christian explained:

“I’m sure you heard about the state and Governor Parnell’s effort to increase the state forest in Southeast Alaska and have the federal government complete the remaining acreage that supposed to be transferred for the state. So this is the state’s effort to get support to get that finally done by the federal government,” said Christian.

He says this transfer might help one dwindling enterprise in this part of the state:

“The small state forests that we have, and we have one mill still in operation so hopefully we might keep some type of timber industry in Southeast Alaska,” said Christian.

The next Borough Assembly meeting is scheduled for September tenth.

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