Local News

Assembly to draft resolution on SEAPA and Tyee

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The borough assembly on Tuesday held a special meeting to discuss issues regarding the Southeast Alaska Power Agency and the Thomas Bay Power Authority.

The assembly last night decided to look into the option of having the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, or SEAPA, take over the operation and maintenance of the Tyee Hydroelectric Facility.

City Hall - Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK

City Hall – Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK

That could potentially go hand in hand with putting the Thomas Bay Power Authority, or TBPA, into inactive status.

Mayor David Jack says he thinks this is a necessary course of action.

“I think it’s the direction we have to go. There’s pros and cons. There’s going to be people that like it and others that don’t like it. But, I feel, and I think most of the assembly members feel, that it’s best for the community in the long run,” said Jack.

The assembly unanimously passed a motion that directs Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch to come up with a draft resolution.

That draft will be based roughly upon a document that Vice Mayor Julie Decker submitted to the assembly at the meeting.

It contains three main points.

The first directs Jabusch and an attorney to enter into negotiations on SEAPA’s expected offer to take over operations at Tyee.

There has been no written offer presented to Petersburg, Wrangell, or TBPA yet. So, negotiations are contingent upon receiving that official offer.

But, the expectation is that the offer will be similar to the August 19th memo from SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson to the TBPA president.

The second point is that the written offer “will be brought back to the governing bodies of each group for final approval.”

That means, it’s not a done deal until all of the cities, boroughs, and boards involved have hashed out the details.

Vice Mayor Julie Decker says those details are very important. She says the draft is just a draft that will need reworking. But she hopes it will cover the most basic and immediate concerns.

“I felt like these were the pertinent issues that need to be dealt with now. It doesn’t mean there’s other issues in the future that aren’t still out there or don’t need discussion. But, for now, I think it solves some of those immediate issues,” said Decker.

Some of those details are laid out in the third point which is that Wrangell will only accept the offer if certain specifications are met.

Those range from how current TBPA employees will be handled to future plans for the Thomas Bay Power Commission.

SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson attended the meeting. He says he’s glad to see the assembly moving in this direction.

“I’m very pleased. I think the assembly took some time to look at the issues very thoroughly and have some great recommendations going forward. We’ll work toward solutions to minimize the impact to the employees. Hopefully it will be a smooth transition,” said Acteson.

The draft resolution is expected to go before the borough assembly at its next meeting.

Assembly members James Stough and Wilma Stokes were not present at this meeting.

KSTK will bring you details on the expected draft resolution in upcoming stories.

The next regular meeting of the borough assembly is scheduled for December 10th. KSTK will broadcast live coverage of that meeting. You can also tune in online at kstk.org.

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