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Assembly moves forward with plans for Tyee transfer

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The Assembly on Tuesday discussed the future of the Tyee Hydroelectric Facility.

The Assembly moved forward with plans to transfer the management of the Tyee Hydroelectric Facility to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, or SEAPA.

The operations at Tyee are currently done by the Thomas Bay Power Authority, or TBPA.

The assembly unanimously approved the resolution recommending the transfer.

Part of the plan is that Wrangell will work cooperatively with the Petersburg Borough and SEAPA throughout the process.

This is an issue that has divided the towns in the past. Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch says he looks forward to a renewed partnership.

He says the first step will be to make sure the two communities are on the same page.

“[I’ll] probably write a letter to the manager in Petersburg and I will give him a copy of the resolution that we passed. There will be some verbage in there that [will ask him to] please review this. [It will say] we’ve followed suit with your resolution about moving this to SEAPA and these are things our assembly is concerned about. Is there anything additional or would you be good to move this on to the SEAPA level and let them take a look at it?” says Jabusch.

Petersburg drafted its own resolution on August 19th supporting SEAPA’s takeover of operations at Tyee and encouraging Wrangell to do the same.

Wrangell’s resolution is more comprehensive in terms of bullet points that must be checked off for the transfer to take place.

For example, there are a number of points covering current TBPA employees that will also be transferred to SEAPA.

All of those employees live in Wrangell, so Jabusch says it’s important that the city looks out for its residents.

“We want to make sure the employees are fairly treated in this process, because there will be a lot of changes and we recognize that. Everything isn’t going to be exactly the same, but you certainly want to do everything you can to minimize negative impacts to the employees that work for Thomas Bay. So, I think that is paramount with our thinking,” says Jabusch.

Jabusch says once the resolution is given the go-ahead by Petersburg, he’ll work with them to get a copy to SEAPA, which will then go before its board.

SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson was also at the assembly meeting. He said last week at the special assembly meeting that he is pleased with the direction this is taking.

Now, he says, he’ll wait to hear from the two communities.

“Well, I’ll be talking to our board at our next board meeting and discussing the topics that are at hand. And then I’ll be working with the managers of both of the communities, I suspect, and put together a package,” says Acteson.

Acteson says he’ll take the lead in drafting that package with the two boroughs.

“And then I’ll bring it back to our board to vote on. Anything that gets agreed upon ultimately has to be approved by our board,” says Acteson.

The next SEAPA board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 17th, in Ketchikan.

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