Wrangell City Hall.
(Sage Smiley / KSTK)

Wrangell’s Borough Assembly is set to pass a budget for the coming year at its Tuesday meeting (June 27). 

It includes a $1 million increase to the General Fund budget compared to last year, as well as large increases to many utility fund budgets and special revenue funds. That’s in part due to a few major infrastructure projects underway in the borough, like a long-awaited water treatment plant and development of the Alder Top Village Subdivision

The agenda for the assembly’s regular meeting is heavy on personnel updates. A number of job descriptions will be amended or added, as the borough works toward restructuring its staffing at the water and wastewater treatment plants. 

With the coming update to the water treatment plant and the potential addition of a disinfection step at the wastewater treatment plant, the borough will need more staff at both facilities. Currently, the two plants are run by three people. The proposed changes would add an additional staff member, with training opportunities for prospective employees. 

Proposed changes include: minor changes to the Water / Wastewater Apprentice position to add IT skills, training and potential callouts to the job description. That position’s pay would not change. Also, a change to the Water / Wastewater Operator position to a Thursday through Monday week, and options for advancement. 

There could also be a new position – Water / Wastewater Operator II – added to the pay scale. That would help facilitate proper staffing at the two treatment plants and allow for advancement within the department. 

And with increased technical skills needed at the new water treatment plant, the borough is also proposing increasing the requirements and pay for the Water Lead Operator position from Salary Grade 23 to 25.

The borough will also consider an updated job description for borough Electrical Superintendent. The position would remain at the same salary grade, Grade 30, starting at just over $82,400 a year. Current Superintendent Rod Rhoades is set to retire later this year. 

Also on the agenda is an updated solid waste disposal contract with Republic Services. Despite a proposed 25% increase to rates in the coming year, borough staff report that Republic still represents the lowest cost to the borough for continued solid waste removal services from the island.

There’s also a contract approval for archaeological monitoring for the development of Alder Top Village Subdivision. It’s a requirement from the State Office of Historic Preservation, since the site was formerly home to a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school. The monitoring is anticipated to cost about $118,000, to be paid from around $2.2 million already set aside for the development project

And Wrangell’s assembly is set to approve taking over the land lease of the community golf course from the state Department of Transportation. The borough will then lease the land back to the Muskeg Meadows Golf Course. It won’t cost the borough money, because it’s a government-to-government lease – the idea is to save the nonprofit golf course money and increase collaboration between the borough and course. 

Other agenda items include a proposed change to borough meeting rules that would call the official roll before any presentations occur at meetings. Assembly members will also consider writing off almost $34,000 of property taxes from 2017-2022 that were billed in error. 

View the full meeting agenda here. 

Wrangell’s Borough Assembly meeting is open to the public, and will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27 at the City Hall assembly chambers. KSTK will publish audio from the meeting on the following day. 

6/26: This article has corrected an erroneous date.

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