The city is wrapping up its 2020 budget. This week, Capital Facilities Director Amber Al-Haddad presented big-ticket line items to improve Wrangell’s aging infrastructure.

Wrangell’s public buildings, water infrastructure and plenty of roads need a lot of love. The city welcomed the SEARHC takeover partly for this reason, the hospital is so old it’s literally sinking in the ground.

While the city has let facilities and structures age to get the most bang for its buck, recent assemblies have said that’s just not the way to go. Mayor Steve Prysunka has reiterated that Wrangell needs to be proactive, not reactive, in its maintenance.  

In the last year, the city has moved Amber Al-Haddad into a Capital Facilities Director position to coordinate capital improvement projects.

The building that houses the fire department, courthouse, DMV and police station is in desperate need of repairs. Currently the 2020 budget calls for more than $800,000 in repairs and upgrades. These include siding, roofing and heating system repairs.

But Assembly Member Anne Morrison questioned at what point is the city just sinking money into a building that just needs to be replaced.  Al-Haddad said if the city were to hold off on any repairs, she recommended the $250,000 roofing work.

Other recommended repairs and upgrades would be to Parks and Recreation’s hot water tank replacement, Reid Street repairs, construction on 5th and 6th Avenues, water plant bypass line upgrades, and water mains replacement.

Cruise ship tax monies could go to a summer float for City Dock.

$500,000 could go to Light and Power mostly for generator and transformer purchases and upgrades.

The Assembly will wrap up its budget work sessions next Monday.