Wrangell’s borough assembly is set to adopt its budget for the coming year, with a $2 million increase to General Fund spending compared to last year. That increase includes more funds going to capital projects, Parks & Recreation, the community’s public library, and the Nolan Center. The assembly will consider the final budget at its meeting Tuesday evening (June 28).

Borough Manager Jeff Good wrote in a note accompanying the budget that Wrangell’s focus for the coming fiscal year will be to address some of the major infrastructure needs in the community. That includes the drinking water treatment plant, wastewater facility, and the Public Safety Building, along with routine maintenance of borough facilities, roads and utilities. 

The borough assembly met in four work sessions to examine and give feedback on different aspects of the budget. Last year, Wrangell’s assembly and administration passed an incomplete budget, as it was working without a finance director. 

In addition to a public hearing on the proposed FY23 budget, Wrangell’s assembly will also hold a public hearing on the process for the borough’s sale of property or tidelands, as well as a property re-plat.

At the meeting, Wrangell’s assembly is set to consider raising its rate for space on borough-owned telephone poles from $20 to $30 for the more than 1,300 borough-owned poles, which are rented by phone and internet providers in town. 

Wrangell officials may also move to restructure the borough’s finance director position from one on the wage scale to a negotiated contractual position. 

Wrangell sits at the mouth of the Stikine River and the borough administration has passed multiple resolutions urging protection and cleanup of transboundary rivers, both the Stikine and other transboundary rivers in Southeast Alaska. At its Tuesday meeting, it’ll look at another resolution, urging further cleanup of the Tulsequah Chief Mine in British Columbia on a tributary of the Taku River, which terminates south of Juneau. 

Over the last year, Wrangell’s assembly has moved to better invest borough assets by strategically investing in slightly more interest-producing funds. At its Tuesday meeting, it’ll consider a new strategy, with a mix of riskier and more risk-controlled investments: 52% of the borough’s invested funds in what’re called “Risk Assets,” 21% in “Alternative Assets,” and 27% in “Risk Control Assets.”

The borough is also moving forward with a number of projects, including a $225,000 purchase for a transformer to increase the borough’s generator power capabilities, $43,000 for replacing the concrete apron at Heritage Harbor, a $52,000 geotechnical investigation on Mt. Dewey to start the process to stabilize soil sloughing, and design work towards an extension of the Mt. Dewey trail for just under $65,000. 

At the end of the meeting, assembly members are also scheduled to meet in a closed-door executive session to do a 6-month evaluation for the borough manager and an annual evaluation of the borough clerk. 

The meeting will be preceded by a work session on school safety, beginning at 6 p.m. The regular borough assembly meeting will air on KSTK 101.7 FM and online at KSTK.org, starting at 7 p.m. 

Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting can sign up on the “Persons to be Heard” sheet located at City Hall. View the full agenda packet here.

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