Month: December 2012

New WMC Interim CEO has extensive experience, starts off position by listening

The Wrangell Medical Center administrative department has experienced extensive change over the past six months but their current interim administrator has committed to work with the community for at least the next year. Marla Sanger arrived in Wrangell about a month ago from southwest Washington. She began working in hospitals as a teenager then earned her nursing degree. After years of working in intensive care units and filling a three-year term as a public health nurse in Angoon she eventually started taking on leadership roles. She has worked with Peace Health as the assistant vice president of patient care...

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Borough Assembly plans for future projects

The Borough Assembly met Tuesday night to discuss capital project funding and other administrative topics. They unanimously passed the Capital Improvement Projects list that was discussed during last week’s work session and will submit it to the State Legislature to request funding. Among the funding requests are $1.8 million for the new Wrangell Medical Center building and $4 million for the boat yard improvements. Smaller projects include money for the school’s fire alarm system and Wrangell Cooperative Association’s new carving facility. This year’s capital improvement project list is coming with a unique addition. City Manager Tim Rooney explained that “they also identified a list of projects under $100,000 that we could give to the legislature as well for when they have that extra money at the end and they’re always looking for small projects to use it.” Those projects include pool locker replacements, two new police vehicles, and a plan for Volunteer Park. Top on the list for the more expensive requests is $627,000 for replacing the city’s oldest sewer pumps. The pumps are close to 35 years old and are experiencing frequent failures. City workers also have trouble finding the costly parts needed to repair them. The city has applied for grants for the project but has not secured all of the funding. At the meeting the assembly decided to accept a 20-year loan from the Alaska Department...

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Sales tax ballot initiative already impacting budget process

An initiative to reduce the sales tax from 7 percent down to 5.5 percent will go on the October 2013 ballot. Petition sponsors Ernie and Rhonda Christian gathered the required 94 signatures within the 90-day limit.  Though citizens have ten more months to decide how to vote, the borough’s finance director has to start working on the budget right now. Finance Director Jeff Jabusch said that planning for a possible cut to sales tax revenues means planning two different budgets. First the administration will go through the budget process with the assumption that their only revenue cut will be $250,000 from the state government. Representative Peggy Wilson has advised to plan on less money from state revenue sharing. Then, Jabusch will look at the normal budget and come up with a list of modifications in case the sales tax is reduced. “So we’ll have that list and that will be presented to the assembly and then at that point we plan on having multiple public hearings about that because obviously there are going to be some cuts that will affect different things and different organizations,” he explained. The list will include a combination of potential cuts to services and potential new sources of revenue, like increased property taxes or a fuel tax. Jabusch says they would likely eliminate Tax Free Days, too. The budget planning process will be as...

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KSTK remembers Dawn Hutchinson

We’re sad to report that former KSTK-FM Program Director Dawn Hutchinson-Stevens died Wednesday. She was a longtime host and programmer whose voice was well-known in Wrangell and throughout the public radio community in Southeast Alaska.

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