The Wrangell Borough Assembly voted Tuesday night to raise electric rates 7 percent starting July 1.
The rate increase came in response to an estimated budget deficit of nearly $370,000, as stated by Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch at the regular assembly meeting.
One of the reasons cited for the shortfall is the possible lack of a rebate from the Southeast Alaska Power Agency. The rebate is typically between $140,000 and $170,000, according to Jabusch.
But Jabusch said the potential lack of a SEAPA rebate is not the main cause of the increase in Wrangell electric rates.
“If the SEAPA rebate doesn’t happen, we would re-address this next July 1,” Jabusch said. “This increase is more for the other things that have been discussed earlier: wage and benefit increases, just mainly from health care costs and things like that. It’s from the heat rate; there’s a lot of costs that go into that.”
The assembly approved the increase in a 5-1 vote. No members of the public commented at the hearing held prior to the assembly meeting.
Assembly members also voted unanimously to outlaw cutting or damaging trees in public parks.
Details on the electric rate increase can be found in the meeting agenda.