April 27, 2012 • Vol. XXXV, No. 7
Kari Rain laughs as she walks through Nolan the Colon at the Skagway Health Fair on April 14. For more pictures of the health fair and other springtime events, see page 7 of our print edition.
Photo by Katie Emmets
Skagway sees unusally bad housing crunch after fire, raised RV Park rent
By KATIE EMMETS
Dina Atkinson was set to live in one of the 10 rooms of the Westmark Inn’s 600 Wing this summer.
Because they were giving up their year-round accommodations in Skagway to move to Mexico for the winter, Atkinson and her boyfriend, Landon Oliveto, realized they needed to secure a place to live in Skagway for the 2012 summer before they left the country.
Atkinson and Oliveto have lived year-round in Skagway for the last six years and wanted a change for the winter.
The couple wasn’t sure if they were going to stay in Skagway for a full year, so they didn’t want to get locked into housing that required a year-long lease.
Before leaving in October, Atkinson spoke to Westmark Inn manager Jim Sager about housing in the hotel’s 600 Wing, and Sager told her there would be rooms available. Because he starts reserving rooms in April, he asked Atkinson to let him know if she wanted one when she returned for the summer.
This sounded like the perfect situation to Atkinson, who had lived in the 600 Wing before. She and Oliveto decided they would live there throughout the summer, and if they wanted to stay the winter, they were sure housing would open up as seasonal workers were leaving.
But on March 6, a fire raged through the building, completely destroying it.
“I read about my housing going up in flames on Facebook while I was basking in the sun in Florida,” she said.
Initially, Atkinson was stressed about the situation and thought she needed to make alternate arrangements as soon as she could.
“But then I was like ‘I’ve bartended in this town for the last seven years. We’ll find a place to live,’” she said. “But I was wrong. This was the wrong winter to leave.”
Atkinson and Oliveto got back to town on March 30 and just recently found summer housing.
When they arrived, a friend of Atkinson’s offered her a room to rent in her house, and while Atkinson thought that was very kind of her, she wanted to keep looking.
But three weeks later, after she still didn’t find a place to live, she took her friend up on her offer.
While summer-home hunting, a friend of Atkinson’s told her she and Oliveto could live in his camper at the Mountain View RV Park, but when she inquired about the camper and RV space, she was told it wasn’t available because the park was drastically reducing its size.
Alaska Travel Adventures (ATA) manages Mountain View RV Park, located on Broadway between 12th and 14th Avenues.
ATA had leased half of the park from White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad and owns the other half.
Since ATA began renting the White Pass land, which was located in the southeast portion of the park, the railroad has collected a certain percentage of the park’s gross revenue for rent.
But because of the uptick in gas prices over the last five years, there are less people traveling to Skagway in RVs, so the park has lost customers, which resulted in White Pass losing money as well.
This year, White Pass asked for a flat rent fee, which will not depend on the park’s revenue in case it continues to lose business because of high gas prices.
“By changing it to a flat fee, White Pass tripled the rent, and we can’t afford it,” said ATA President Kelli Dindinger in Juneau. “We had to drastically scale down to our own property, and we lost a lot of room.”
Dindinger said the RV park has gone from 36 water and electric hook-up spots down to 15.
Because they only have eight summer-long residents year after year, they weren’t making enough money to afford the flat rate rent, and therefore would be losing money if they kept renting the White Pass land.
“It doesn’t pencil out for us to pay that amount of money with the amount of business we are getting,” she said.
Dindinger said the company expects to retain its eight season-long residents and use the remaining seven for ATA travel tours and out of town visitors with RVs.
If there are any summer Skagwegians who are still looking for a place to live, Dindinger said to call the RV park as soon as they can.
Until there is one summer night with all 15 spots booked, she would be able to supply a season-long space for anyone who already has an RV or camper.
White Pass refused to comment to the News about the situation.
Recently, there have been several ads on bulletin boards around town posted by people who were planning on living in the 600 wing asking for available campers or RVs.
But a camper isn’t a requirement to stay in the campground. Dindinger said there are spaces for those who want to live in a tent, adding that the park would be able to supply the tents.
Skagway Mayor Stan Selmer said it would not be unusual to have housing constrictions in Skagway every year.
“There aren’t enough people living in Skagway to service the summer season,” Selmer said, adding that Skagway needs its seasonal workers come cruise ship time. “We as a municipality have to make accommodations, and hopefully those accommodations won’t be tents on the hillside.”
In prior years, Selmer said there were tents everywhere surrounding the town, and he said he would not like to see that happen again.
There are more than five houses for sale in Skagway, and Selmer suggests chain stores or large tourism entities, such as jewelry stores or bus companies buy the houses if they are having trouble finding places for their employees to live.
“There’s a lot of houses for sale in Skagway, and it might be time for the companies to start buying in town again,” he said.
Another action that might tighten the crunch even more is the possible municipality purchase of Garden City RV Park from the Juneau Diocese of the Catholic Church.
Selmer said a few summer companies have seasonal housing in the RV park and would lose their housing if the municipality were to change the function of that huge tract.
“Whatever they think is best for the community is what they’ll do with it,” he said.
With the destruction of 10 housing units in the 600 wing, Selmer realizes this summer differs from the normal housing crunch, which returns every year around this time.
“It’s a big issue every year, but it has the potential to be an even bigger issue this year,” he said.
TEMSCO concerned about possible development of tidelands for new ore dock
Surrender documents drawn up for White Pass
By JEFF BRADY and KATIE EMMETS
After a final review in executive session on April 19, the Skagway Borough Assembly voted 5-1 to authorize its attorney to draw up surrender documents for unimproved sections of the tidelands lease with White Pass.
This includes submerged tidelands to the southwest of the present TEMSCO heliport sublease. The only assemblyman to object to motion was Paul Reichert, local tour manager for the helicopter company. He gave no explanation for his vote, but said later that he "didn't think that pursuing the 'unimproved tidelands' at this time was the best strategy regarding our ongoing lease negotiations." Earlier in the meeting he was upset that letters from TEMSCO’s lawyer had not been forwarded to the assembly.
The two letters, dated March 16 and April 17, were addressed to Ted Leonard, executive director for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, and to Skagway Mayor Stan Selmer. AIDEA owns the ore terminal and is reportedly in consultation with Selwyn Resources about a possible new dock if the original Skagway Gateway Project plan for upgrading the current ore dock does not proceed.
The letters from attorney H. Clay Keene said the helicopter company had received a proposed plan for a new ore dock that would “prevent helicopter flights from the TEMSCO property when an ore ship is moored at the dock” due to flight patterns and prevailing winds. And if there are ships once a week, as envisioned, they could not operate. “If TEMSCO cannot operate helicopters when an ore ship is at dock, TEMSCO’s summer cruise ship business will be devastated, if not lost.”
The March 16 letter said they could not simply move to the airport or another location and asked that the company be consulted and involved in the planning. The April 17 letter objected more so.
“Not having heard from either AIDEA or the City since my earlier letter raises more concerns,” Keene wrote. TEMSCO wants very much to be part of the planning process that appears to be ongoing between AIDEA and the City concerning a new ore dock.
At the April 19 meeting, Skagway TEMSCO manager John Whedon also objected to the talk of relocating the heliport.
“The current proposed plan simply doesn’t work for TEMSCO,” Whedon said. “People seem to think helicopters go up and go back down. There’s a reason why we moved out there (where they are right now at the far SW corner of the developed tidelands).”
In an interview this week, Selmer said he spoke with TEMSCO president Bob Berto after the March 16 letter and did not forward it to the assembly since it was addressed only to him. He forwarded it to the borough attorney who had not responded to it by the time of the second letter.
“From TEMSCO’s position, I can understand their concerns,” Selmer said. “From the borough’s position of where we are with waterfront development, I think their concerns, from the borough’s standpoint, are premature.”
Selmer said the borough does not have a planned waterfront expansion project that has been nailed down. “When will we have it? Hopefully soon, but we don’t have it right now.”
He further explained that the proposed project, at present, is more of a concept that was introduced by Selwyn, a proposed lead-zinc mine on the western Yukon border with Northwest Territories. That concept took off from one of the options in a 2008 Skagway port plan. It was proposed at an Anchorage meeting of port players last November as an alternative to the Gateway Project plan for expanded uplands off the current ore dock, which White Pass still controls. In negotiations this past winter, the borough and White Pass could not agree on terms for surrendering those tidelands to allow the Gateway Project to proceed, but the company has agreed to surrender the unimproved tidelands. This would allow possible development of those lands by AIDEA/Selwyn, the mayor has said.
Whedon suggested they get together and talk, and the mayor met with Whedon and Reichert at TEMSCO’s offices on Tuesday. Afterwards, he said they would meet again when Berto comes up to Skagway next month.
“We will sit down with him in their offices and talk about what works for them,” he said, adding that he suggested TEMSCO may want to come up with its own lease proposal to the borough.
The huge 55-year tidelands lease between the borough and White Pass ends in 2023, but TEMSCO’s sublease ends in 2020, and the mayor said it might be possible to negotiate an agreement that would start in 2021. The borough at this point plans to lease White Pass the eastern Broadway Dock section of the current tidelands lease beyond 2023, and the municipality would have full control of the western industrial port from 2023 on.
A ore truck from Capstone’s Minto Mine crosses over the White Pass summit of the Klondike Highway in March. Jeff Brady
Still under review by the assembly and the port commission is a proposed tidelands lease from AIDEA. The assembly sent back a list of concerns from the commission back to them for clarification this week, and the commission was reviewing them in executive session on Wednesday.
The draft lease from AIDEA has not been made public, but Selmer said he expects that sometime during a meeting in May, “we would unveil it and have some sort of letter that goes back to AIDEA.”
Any new lease with a value of $250,000 or more would have to go to a vote of the people, according to borough code, and could last no more than 35 years.
In the meantime the change in direction away from the Gateway Project concept and the delay in a decision on the unimproved tidelands may be hurting Skagway’s position with its main target customer. Selwyn Resources has started taking a closer look at Stewart, B.C.
The company’s latest April 17 progress report is vague about transportation: “Work continues to evaluate concentrate shipping alternatives and the use of LNG as an alternative for generation of power for mine operations.”
But it’s common knowledge in town that local resident Paul Taylor, Selwyn’s port consultant, has made visits to Stewart in the past few weeks. Taylor would not comment on the company’s interest in Stewart, referring all questions to Selwyn Resources president Harlan Meade, who had not responded to requests for comment by this issue’s deadline.
Selmer said he had heard nothing directly from Selwyn, only from other mining companies interested in Skagway, that Selwyn was looking more seriously at Stewart. He noted that Stewart has an operating port like Skagway, and that its mayor was pitching the port at the same Vancouver Roundup that Skagway attended in January.
For Yukon-based companies that value the all-Canadian connection to Stewart versus the closer distance to Skagway with its border crossing, Stewart will be their choice, he said.
“I’m hoping that we will hear from Selwyn that indicates that they are on track with us,” he said.
Selwyn Resources announced last week that it has worked out a resource funding agreement with the Naha Dehé Dene Band (Nahanni Butte) to undertake negotiations of a community agreement in respect of Selwyn Project activities within its traditional territory in the Northwest Territories. This includes use of the old Howard’s Pass Access Road. The company also is seeking a license with Parks Canada for a 22-kilometer section of the access road that crosses Nahani National Preserve. Then it must apply with Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, NWT, for new licenses that will allow for upgrading and expansion of the road for use in the haulage of concentrates.
The company is trying to complete its mining development plan so it can enter a year-long environmental permitting phase. It also hopes to complete its bankable feasibility study by the end of this year.
Assembly supports new White Pass application for floating dock
By JEFF BRADY
The Skagway Borough Assembly voted unanimously on April 19 to support an application by White Pass & Yukon Route to the Army Corps of Engineers for a floating dock at the south end of the Railroad Dock to accommodate bigger ships in 2013.
Those Solstice-class ships by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines need floating docks to enable access to lower decks. All other SE ports that RCCL call on have installed them.
White Pass had been approved for a permit for a similar facility on the Ore Dock a couple years ago, and it was to be its donation to the Gateway Project.
But after negotiations stalled over cruise terminal operator extensions on the Ore Dock and that agreement shifted its focus to unimproved tidelands development, the company decided to shift the estimated $4 million floating dock project to its private Railroad Dock.
The borough had asked for $2.5 million (original two-year-old estimate of a floating dock at the Ore Dock) from the legislature to take on the project at one point, if it ended up having to construct the dock, but that funding was pulled and diverted to Haines projects during the waning days of the session. Rep. Bill Thomas said Skagway received $10 million last year for the Gateway Project, and it was Haines’s turn for port funds.
Mayor Stan Selmer said he was pleased with the assembly’s vote to go ahead and support White Pass’s new application.
“My position is we have to be supportive of it,” he said. “Since we did not get funding for it, it is not an either/or or both. It’s the only option right now….knowing how emphatically the ship company wanted a commitment from the borough (to have a floating dock in place for 2013). To do anything other than support this would to do harm to our tourist season next year.”
The vote came with some conditions, Selmer said. The borough is unclear about the tidelands leases White Pass has with the state under the south portion of the Railroad Dock. He said state statutes allow boroughs to take over state tidelands in advance of new projects.
He noted that their questions about the leases should not be viewed as being unsupportive of the project. “It’s just due diligence on our part,” he said.
According to the permit application, the project will entail:
• Removal of two existing steel pile dolphins and catwalks, which would be salvaged for reuse.
• Installation of a 60 x 160-foot floating dock anchored by six 48-inch diameter vertical steel piles. It will be a retrofitted barge converted for use as a passenger loading/unloading facility. A 12 x 120-foot ramp would be installed between it and the south end of the Railroad Dock.
• Installation of a new 48-inch diameter breasting and mooring dolphin with associated gangway and catwalk.
Legislature approved $8.5 million for Skagway projects
By KATIE EMMETS
The second session of the 27th Alaska State Legislature ended shortly after midnight on the 90th day, and Skagway could receive more than $8.5 million for some of its newest projects that were approved in the operating and capital budgets.
If Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signs the budgets as presented, Skagway would receive $5 million for the Skagway Small Boat Harbor.
This is the third year the municipality applied to the Alaska’s Harbor Matching Grant Program, and this year it scored second – high enough to receive funding.
The past two years, the boat harbor scored just under the funding cap and didn’t receive money towards its improvement project.
For this budget cycle, the borough asked for $5 million with a promise to match that if awarded the grant money. The project is estimated to cost $11,322,000.
“We managed to maintain the Small Boat Harbor project that was in the Governor's original capital budget,” said Skagway Borough lobbyist John Walsh. “This was a competitive grant that the municipality submitted in July 2011 and was ranked number two. So on that note, it’s good.”
Though the budget has not yet been signed into law, Walsh said he does not expect Parnell to veto this project.
Another project will fund salmon enhancement in Skagway.
Originally planning to appropriate funding for salmon spawning channels in Haines, Rep. Bill Thomas said he added additional money in the budget for a channel in Skagway.
After speaking to Skagway Mayor Stan Selmer and Borough Assemblyman Mike Korsmo about the feasibility of a spawning channel in Skagway, Thomas added $620,000 into the FY13 budget for three spawning channels in Haines and one in Skagway.
Although he is unsure of the exact details of the spawning channel, Mayor Stan Selmer assumes the channels would be created for either chum or coho.
Selmer said would prefer coho because in Skagway coho are fished for subsistence and sport by its residents, and chum are fished commercially.
Until about seven years ago when it underwent drastic changes and even went underground in places, Lillegraven Creek was a natural spawning bed for coho salmon. Selmer said he would like to see the money Skagway receives for a spawning stream used toward rehabilitating Lillegraven Creek so coho could have a larger presence in Skagway once again.
When the budget is signed, Skagway could also receive $100,000 from the general fund for its recycling program, which is being revamped by an ad hoc committee.
“It’s great that we’re getting money for this,” Selmer said. “I know the recycling of the past has never been a true recycling program, so I’m excited to have knowledgeable people on the committee who will make some big changes.”
Skagway would also receive funding for road repair.
A Dyea Road washout emergency repair would receive $25,800 from the general fun and the Klondike Highway would receive $2.5 million from for industrial ore haul refurbishment, which would go toward repair of the suspended Moore Bridge.
In comparison to other municipalities, such as Haines, Walsh said Skagway didn’t exactly do fantastic in the FY13 budget cycle.
Skagway initially requested $13.5 million from the General Obligation Transportation Bond (HB 286) to complete Phase I & II of the Gateway Project, but the legislature did not include the project in the final version of the bill.
Haines, however, received $4.5 million for improvements to its harbor.
Thomas, who is co-chair of the House Finance Committee, said there have been reductions of funding by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so he wanted to put money in the budget for Haines to fix its harbor, which needs breakwater improvements, dredging and new floats.
“I was going to put money in for Skagway, but Skagway got money last year, and it has a good boat harbor,” he said. “So I put in money for Haines this year.”
Selmer said it would have been nice to receive $13.5 million for the Gateway Project this year, but the project already has a combined $80 million, with $65 million grant from Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, $10 million from the FY12 Alaska Legislative budget, and a $5 million bond voted on by Skagway residents.
The project and funding is out there, Selmer said, the municipality just needs to figure out how it wants to go about starting the project – something Selmer believes will happen when the Tidelands Lease negotiations come to a close.
A request for $2.5 million from the cruise passenger excise tax for a floating dock at the Ore Dock also was not funded (see floating dock story).
Other projects that would be funded that could affect Skagway transportation are the $50 million that was transferred from the general fund to the Alaska Marine Highway for the construction of the Alaska Class Ferry and $1.1 million that will be used toward the Alaska Canada Rail Link Phase II Feasibility Study.
Within an hour after the regular session of the Legislature adjourning, Parnell called for a special session, which began April 18, to consider an in-state gas line, oil production taxe,s and sex crimes. The special session is set to end in June.
For the FY13 Legislative budget, Walsh said Skagway made out as to be expected and didn’t lose anything.
“All in all, we're doing fine,” Walsh said of Skagway. “We have projects in the works, so we set our sights on our current projects and begin planning for the next session.”
New TIWC executive director excited to work with Skagway community
By KATIE EMMETS
Working for the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council is new executive director Rachel Ford’s dream job.
With a few water-specific internships under her belt and a master’s degree in resource economics, Ford started her first day of work on April 20.
But she is no stranger to Skagway.
After graduating from grad school at Michigan State University, Ford took an internship with the watershed council in early January.
“I was 26, and I was graduating, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh. I need to get a job,’” she said. “But instead of getting a job, I found an internship in Alaska in the winter.’”
Ford interned 20 hours a week at the watershed council as planned but also picked up 20 hours a week at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in its education department.
After spending half of a winter working, making friends, backcountry skiing and realizing how wonderful this tight-knit community can be, Ford applied for the executive director position when it became open in March.
Former director A.J. Conley recently left her post with TIWC to become a backcountry ranger with KGRNHP. Ford worked under Conley so the transition was easy.
“This is my dream job – working for a nonprofit conservation center,” she said. “I get to do all the things I like to do: working to conserve water, advertising, community outreach.”
Ford also said she is excited to work with volunteers and learn the ins and outs of managing a budget.
There are some adjustments that could be made in town to better Skagway’s watershed, and Ford said she thinks the best way to evoke an environmental change from a community is through education, not guilt.
“A lot of environmental groups hit on the guilty stuff and tell you that you should feel bad about what you do,” she said. “But I want to inspire people to take care of the streams in the area because they are the community’s resource.”
The watershed council received a private donation for outreach, and Ford wants to use the funds to creatively inspire residents while educating them about the effects they have on Skagway’s water.
“I’m all about inspiration,” she said. “And I like to draw a lot, so I will be running a series of cartoons in The Skagway News. Informative cartoons, not guilt cartoons.”
As an intern, Ford put together a community survey and spoke to landowners, business owners and residents about stormwater, what they view as concerns to Skagway’s watershed and how they felt about and Pullen Creek.
According to the survey, residents think Pullen Pond’s fish are extremely important, and salmon breeding and returning Skagway waters are big concerns.
For Skagway’s Clean Sweep Ford will be asking for volunteers to put on some waders and Xtra Tuffs and help clean Pullen Pond and Pullen Creek.
“If people want to help out, they can say they want to clean with the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council when they sign up at the ferry terminal on April 28,” she said.
The next public streamwalk meeting will be on May 10, and Ford said she encourages Skagway residents to come learn about it and give their opinions. She is also planning to have the annual Frisbee golf tournament on May 12 to fundraise for the watershed council.
Ford said she is very interested in continuing to gather input from Skagwegians about their water.
Residents can voice their concerns or get more information by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SINGING FOR BARB - Betsy Kalen Albecker of Skagway, left, and Deb Jutra of Whitehorse sing some of the late Barbara Kalen’s ‘silly songs’ during the 26th annual International Folk Festival on April 20. Kalen, the festival’s founder, passed away last fall. She was honored at both the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau and the mini-festival in Skagway-Whitehorse. Jeff Brady
SCHOOL REPORT (complete report in print edition)
School budget passes assembly without much discussion
There was little chatter at the borough assembly table when discussing the proposed Skagway School FY13 budget, and the budget passed with a 5-1 vote.
The Skagway School requested $1,507,513 from the municipality with an operating budget of $1,131,136 and outside-the-cap fund of $376,377, and it will receive exactly what it asked for.
In the April 19 assembly meeting, Skagway School Superintendent Jeff Thielbar told the assembly the school would be entering the 2012-2013 school year with a $500,000 existing balance, but there would be a 20 percent reduction in that total because it will be used toward buying new school supplies such as tables, desks and technology.
Thielbar spoke about joining up with Valdez and the North Slope school districts, which also receive little money from the legislature, to sue the state in order to bring to the state’s attention how detrimental their lack of funding is.
“Alaska has great sources for educational law suits,” Thielbar said. “And the state is used to being challenged and losing.” The funding amount Alaska schools receive from the state depends on the amount of kids in each school. Next year’s Skagway School enrollment count is estimated to be 63.
“This formula does not work for us,” Thielbar said.
Without much discussion, the assembly voted to adopt the FY 13 school budget with a 5-1 vote. Dan Henry voted no.
Henry said he voted against the passing of the budget because he is not satisfied with the current school system and thinks the Skagway School should be awarded more funding from the municipality.
“I do not share the enthusiasm with others at the table about how good our school is,” Henry said. “It has come on us to pick up the slack and we haven’t done it.”
It’s a fact, Henry said, that the state is underfunding the school, which could lead to students being underprepared for their next steps after they graduate.
Though Skagway could eventually find itself suing the State of Alaska to get adequate funding for its school, Henry said the municipality should pick up the slack and bear the financial responsibility in the meantime.
“If we have no money, that’s the way it’s gotta be,” Henry said. “But we have the money, so it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Skagway School to host 2013 Art Fest
After a few months of discussing the logistics and feasibility, Skagway School and the Skagway Arts Council will host the 2013 annual Southeast Art Fest.
Art Fest is open to all Southeast Alaska high school students and usually attracts anywhere from 100 to 150 students each year, said school Superintendent Jeff Thielbar.
“It was slated to be our turn to host Art Fest this year, but with the Smithsonian trip and many other things going on this month, we declined,” Thielbar said. “We didn’t know how we could possibly do it justice, and do it well.”
Since they didn’t hold Art Fest this year, it was decided that it would be held in Skagway from April 9-12, 2013.
“It’s our turn in the rotation,” he said. “We’ve been talking about it a lot, and the result is: it’s awesome.”
Thielbar said he is excited to hold Art Fest at Skagway School because it will be receiving a lot of help.
The original concerns of the board and members of the community were of supervision, housing and feeding up to 150 kids, and making arrangements for Art Fest Activities.
“Dottie Demark and the Skagway Arts Council said they would do it, and that’s great” Thielbar said. “We have someone who is spearheading, and we plan to support them in anyway we can.”
Thielbar said the school would use some of the newly acquired Margaret Frans Brady Fund grant money to help fund Art Fest. The grant will be awarded to the school for fine arts programming after its application is accepted.
The school will also provide staff to help with the event.
Thielbar said the school would encourage all of its high school students to participate in Art Fest next year, and added that kindergarten through eighth grade students would continue their regularly scheduled classes those three days.
Board member Darren Belisle said the board should contact the Skagway Traditional Council in hopes of getting Alaska Native artists to participate in Art Fest, and board member Cara Cosgrove, who was pushing for a way Skagway could accommodate Art Fest in earlier discussions, said she is glad to hear the event will be coming and looks forward to helping out with it.
Thielbar said Art Fest requires a lot of artists, as there are many different workshops. Skagway artists who are interested in volunteering their time to help at Art Fest should contact Demark. – KE
BOROUGH DIGEST (complete digest in print edition)
FY13 Budget unanimously passes first reading
The first draft of the budget passed unanimously in anticipation of large-scale changes to come during the second and third readings.
The total FY13 operating budget is $5,385,826 almost $350,000 more than the FY12 operating budget of $5,037,471. The total capital project amount is $ 15,228,253, which is more than double that of FY12’s approved project expenses of $7,839,374.
The assembly will also set the mill rates for calculating property tax at a subsequent reading of the budget. The final budget must be passed by the end of the fiscal year in June.
Recycling Committee asks Chamber of Commerce to recycle for Clean Sweep
The Recycling Committee met on April 13 to continue discussions on a new town-wide recycling plan.
The committee unanimously agreed they would like to draft a letter to Skagway Public Works about removing tin from the recycling trailer. It also sent a letter to the Skagway Chamber of Commerce and asked it to keep aluminum cans separate from all other trash picked up at the Clean Sweep on April 28. The committee suggested the chamber pass out separate bags to collect the cans and thinks this could be a small first step in raising community awareness and support for recycling in Skagway.
The chamber responded to the committee and said it would be more than willing to help with the recycling effort and asked that the committee have someone stationed at the recycling trailer at 5th Avenue and Alaska Street to help participants with the recycling.
The committee also discussed where else they would like to see recycling Dumpsters, and committee chair Steve Burnham Jr. said he would like to see the dumpsters at school where students could bring their recycling from home.
After the creation of the ad hoc Recycling Committee, Mayor Stan Selmer appointed Mark Lohnes as an alternate and just recently added Buster Shepherd to the committee as well.
The committee will continue to research recycling companies for Skagway’s cardboard and areas they would be able to stage cardboard bailers.
The next committee meeting is today at 4 p.m. in the assembly chambers.