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Assembly to consult attorney on TBPA

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The regular meeting of the borough assembly was Tuesday. It discussed timber and the Thomas Bay Power Authority.

Julie Decker was appointed Vice Mayor.

In other appointments, Terri Henson and Stan Schnell were appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Bob Lippert was appointed to the Parks and Recreation board.

James Stough was appointed to the Thomas Bay Power Authority or TBPA Commission.

Bob Maxand was appointed to the Economic Development Committee.

Don McConachie and Olinda White were appointed to the Nolan Museum/Civic Center Board.

Wilma Leslie and Brenda Schwartz-Yeager were appointed to the Wrangell Convention and Visitors Board.

Members of the public frequently write letters to the assembly. Decker proposed attaching all future letters to the Borough Clerk’s report so they can be read by the public.

In new business, the assembly unanimously approved the Wrangell Timber Industry Plan.

The city plans to discuss the current Thomas Bay Power Authority, or TBPA and Southeast Alaska Power Agency, or SEAPA, issues with an attorney.

Interim borough manager Jeff Jabusch came up with two questions to ask the attorney.

The first is:

  1. Does SEAPA have the legal right to deny the Operation and Maintenance or O&M costs for the TBPA office?

The Four Dam Pool is the predecessor of SEAPA. It initially decided to exempt the O&M costs from its budget and have the communities foot the bill.

SEAPA inherited this practice. It’s become a major point of contention between Wrangell and Petersburg.

Both communities draw power from the Tyee Hydroelectric Facility.

But, Petersburg earlier this year decided not to pay its half of the O&M costs for TBPA, which is contracted by SEAPA to operate Tyee.

This leads to the second question:

  1. Are both Wrangell and Petersburg entitled to 50% of the power from Tyee?

According to Jabusch, he has never actually seen a document that states both communities are entitled to half the power.

He says it’s always been assumed that they each get half, but that was because they were paying equal costs for operation and maintenance.

Assembly member Decker came up with a third question for the attorney which is:

  1. Who is ultimately liable for the $750,000 FERC liability?

Finally, the assembly went into executive session to discuss a letter received from the attorney for Oliver Construction.

The assembly adjourned following the session with no further discussion.

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