Wrangell’s City Hall.
(Sage Smiley / KSTK)

Wrangell’s assembly is set to reconsider rate hikes to the community’s water and sewer rates Tuesday (April 12), to the tune of around $10 per month per household. If approved, Wrangell water and sewer rates would increase on May 1. The rate increases come as Wrangell’s officials try to prepare for future infrastructure needs by shoring up local funds. 

Wrangell’s elected leaders aren’t only focused on the cost-of-living; they’re also looking to expand the community’s cemetery. 

Burial space has been an issue for a long time in Wrangell and will be discussed at Tuesday’s regular meeting. In this first phase of cemetery expansion, the borough is looking to purchase a new columbarium, a structure with spaces to store ashes and house memorial plaques. Purchasing and installing a new columbarium is anticipated to cost around $58,000. The borough will also start work to add another 10 burial plots in Wrangell’s existing cemetery. 

The assembly will also take public testimony and suggestions for projects to submit for federal pandemic relief funding. In the first round of grant funding, the borough applied to have the community’s recreation center air circulation system upgraded, but has not heard back yet about that first round of funding. 

Also on the agenda, the assembly will consider restructuring parts of the borough’s sales tax code, and the way it allocates sales tax revenue. One of the proposed changes would eliminate the cap on taxable revenue for businesses in town, which is currently set at $3,000. The other proposal would allocate 80% of the borough’s sales tax revenue to the General Fund and 20% to a fund for Wrangell’s schools. If those changes pass at tonight’s meeting, the borough will hold a public hearing on the updated code on April 26. 

The borough assembly will also consider some purchases and project approvals at its Tuesday meeting. One possible expenditure is $25,000 for an engineering assessment for the borough to assess the former mill property at 6-Mile Zimovia Highway, which the borough put down a $2.5 million offer on to buy. Other purchases could include a $10,000 purchase of wastewater pumps and spare parts and approval to spend almost $24,000 to purchase carpet for an upcoming carpet replacement project at the public library. The borough will also consider approving a $65,000 sidewalk replacement project next to the high school, paid for by federal (Secure Rural Schools) funds. 

Ketchikan independent Rep. Dan Ortiz will also give a legislative update to the assembly at the Tuesday evening meeting. 

Wrangell’s assembly will meet at 6 p.m. in the borough chambers in City Hall. The meeting will also be broadcast on KSTK: 101.7 FM and online at kstk.org. Find the meeting agenda at wrangell.com under the “Meetings” tab. Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting should contact the borough clerk by calling 907-874-2381.

Get in touch with KSTK at news@kstk.org or (907) 874-2345.