Local News

Wrangell utility rates to increase about 5 percent

Wrangell's Assembly holds a budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall. (File Photo)

Wrangell’s Assembly holds a budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall. (File Photo)

Wrangell plans to boost its utility rates.

Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch says electric rates will go up 5 percent across the board next month.

Water, sewer and garbage fees will increase between 4 and 6 percent.

Jabusch says it’s a matter of balancing the budget.

“After looking at our utility rates and the projected revenues and expenditures for next year it was obvious there was going to have to be something done or we were going to be behind probably 300 and some thousand dollars,” he says.

The increases are part of the municipal spending plan for the 2014-2015 budget years, which begins July 1st.

Wrangell’s Borough Assembly will hold a public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at City Hall. The assembly is scheduled to approve the spending plan during its regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

Jabusch says other than utilities, the next budget is largely the same as the current one. That includes a 12.75 mill rate, used to set property taxes.

“We’re planning on all the current level of services and various things we contribute to: The Chamber of Commerce and fireworks and the health fare and KSTK. And I think those things are still intact,” he says.

Some other Alaska communities are cutting programs, laying off teachers and making other reductions this year.

Jabusch says that’s not a problem for Wrangell … yet.

“Certainly there are things on the horizon that are a concern, but not at this point, at least for next year. But it is something that’s in the back of our minds and we’re always trying to anticipate things,” he says.

Copies of the budget are available at city hall or the library.

The meeting will be broadcast live on KSTK-FM. A recording will be posted on the station website.

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