November 24, 2010 • Vol. XXXIII, No. 21

Bowling For Dippers

Les Fairbanks shows he still has it, albeit in Wii bowling against his wife Judy in a game at the ‘Big Dippers’ senior center. See story and more photos on pages 6 and 7.

Photo by Gayle Deaton

DEC study warns about hydrocarbons in harbor sediments

Webinar scheduled for Dec. 1; DEC recommends monitoring, safe practices

By GAYLE DEATON

A public notice has been issued stating water quality in the Skagway Harbor needs to be improved because there are petroleum hydrocarbons in sediments.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released a study that indicates past concerns about lead and zinc activity in the sediment have now been replaced with concerns about petroleum hydrocarbons.
The majority of the hydrocarbons have been located in the sediment of the west and central harbor areas where the ore loading dock and Petro Marine Services pipelines are located.
Assemblyman Tim Cochran who manages Petro Marine Services, said he was surprised by the locations pinpointed in the report given the last spill in the 1970s occurred in the small boat harbor after a rockslide.
“We’ve had no spills in the seven years I’ve been here at Petro Marine,” Cochran said. “The majority of contamination is over next to the ore dock and right under the loaders, so it’s kind of ironic it’s right where that ore has been moved all those years. I don’t know if the ore ships are leaking or cruise ships are leaking.”
Cochran suggested that with no report or evidence of a major spill, the evidence seems to point at the traffic and bilge pumps. “Sometimes we have five major cruise ships, a ferry and a barge, so I imagine we do have amounts of stuff going in the water that shouldn’t,” he said.
Brock Tabor, an environmental program specialist with the DEC’s Division of Water, said the source of the sediment contamination is not known, but could be from historic spills and even current operations at docks and harbors.
Tabor said the goal for Skagway is to recognize that the problem is in the sediment. He said it could be from old petroleum from old activity or something more current or even a combination of the two.
“There are lots of things that have happened in-harbor that we don’t have a record of,” Tabor said.
Whatever the cause, the higher than recommended levels of hydrocarbons pose an increased risk to sea life in the area. According to the report, the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for petroleum hydrocarbons in Skagway Harbor needs to be reduced by about 70 percent to meet state guidelines.
“There are petroleum hydrocarbons in the sediment affecting the shellfish in the harbor,” Tabor said. “The long term plan is that naturally, sediment is going to settle and that will bury it or flush it over time.”
The state is recommending continued monitoring, rather than disturbing the sediments during a clean up, and will encourage safe water practices.
Tabor said leaving the sediment undisturbed and letting nature take its course should work, provided there’s no new source of petroleum hydrocarbons currently leaking into the harbor, which means Skagway may want to be more vigilant in safeguarding the harbor from sources of potential leaks.
Having a clean harbor is already a goal of Skagway harbormaster Matt O’Boyle.
At the Nov. 3 meeting of the Ports and Harbors Advisory Board, O’Boyle said he had just returned from a conference where the state harbormasters association supported a statewide clean harbors program.
When asked by member Mark Saldi what the program entailed, O’Boyle said it addresses fish waste, fuel spills, run-off from boats, and pressure washing.
“We are trying to make sure harbors are taking care of the environment,” he said. “It’s something the community can aspire to.”
Tabor said O’Boyle being a part of clean harbors definitely puts Skagway a step ahead in the process.
“It would be in direct support for the harbormaster to be taking part on the clean harbors,” Tabor said. “That would be a direct supporter of the TMDL (guideline). It certainly demonstrates taking the appropriate steps.”
The state is also suggesting Skagway apply Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control stormwater run-off especially at docks and harbors.
Cochran said he believes O’Boyle’s Clean Harbor recommendations to the assembly will certainly be looked at in light of the new state report on the sediment issue in the harbor.
“All the water samples show negative for any contamination, so the water is fine,” Cochran said. “It’s contamination that has settled into the sediment that has settled over time.”
He said he believes Petro Marine Services are heavily monitored and environmentally conscious enough to prepare for spills, citing a large-scale drill the company held just last year for disaster preparation.
“We have inspections every year,” Cochran said. “We have to have a spill plan and we are quite heavily regulated. We’re the first line responders to a spill that may happen to the local waters here.
We have a formal inspection each year and on-the-spot inspections from the U.S. Coast Guard, so they’re pretty vigilant in keeping a good eye on the industry.”
Cochran also pointed out that Petro Marine Services is a restrictive facility that is always locked.
“It’s a relatively safe operation,” he said. “There’s always the chance of an earthquake or something that could cause a catastrophic spill but we have a contingency plan for that, God forbid that ever happens, but there is one in place, and I think we’re covered.”
Tabor will host a teleconference hearing and webinar from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 1 and comments will be taken until Dec. 14.
For more information on how to log into the teleconference, contact Tabor at (907) 465-5023 or via email at brock.tabor@aslaska.gov.

P&Z approves Murphy’s latest application for tour attraction

New appeal pending

By GAYLE DEATON

A revised application with more details is credited with Robert Murphy, owner of Alaska Excursions, being granted a second conditional use permit for his proposed sled dog demonstration and bear viewing habitat, despite his first application being overturned by the Board of Adjustment.
However, another appeal has been filed by one of the parties that objected to the original decision.
Jim Jewell filed an appeal before the Nov. 19 deadline, and it will be up to the Skagway Borough Assembly to decide if it wants to deal with the issue again.
Jewell was one of three neighboring residents of the proposed bear viewing habitat who filed appeals after the Planning and Zoning Commission initially approved Murphy’s first application.
The neighbors cited concerns such as noise, safety and water and sewer issues in their appeals. The Skagway Borough Assembly acting as Board of Adjustment at an Oct. 20 meeting overturned approval of the application in a 3-1 vote citing a lack of detailed information on Murphy’s original application.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner and Vice Chairman Matt Deach, acting as P&Z chairman, said Murphy submitted a more comprehensive application Oct. 21 that answered the complaints outlined in the previous appeals letters and at the Board of Adjustment meeting.
P&Z reviewed the new application and approved it during a meeting on Nov. 10. Murphy, who is the usual chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, again recused himself because it was his application that was being reviewed.
Murphy’s property is zoned industrial but his conditional use permit will allow for his proposed bear-viewing habitat to be located north of Jewell Gardens.
“This application was more complete than the previous one,” Deach said. “He was asking for permission to run a business which is why the original plan did not include a lot of details.”
As for the concerns of those who appealed P&Z’s first decision, Deach said the commission “made sure” to address all of the points that were raised.
“I wasn’t quite pleased with the outcome the first time,” Deach said. “Nitpicking isn’t really productive to a good business environment in a town this small. One of the points raised at the meeting is that if you’re running a business out of compliance with the codes, then you really shouldn’t be pointing a finger at someone who is (trying to be in compliance).”
Tom Hall, owner of the Klondike Gold Dredge, was out of town and unavailable for comment. However, Hall had said in his original appeal letter that Murphy’s proposal seemed vague and he wanted to see more details provided before it was approved.
Hall had also said stated that his business operates a dog sled demonstration tour and keeps their dogs housed in a kennel at night to ensure noise does not become an issue for area residents. Some assembly members then questioned why Hall himself had not been required to seek permits for his dog sled tour business as Murphy was currently doing.
“There are several people running illegal housing and illegal tours in Skagway,” Deach said, “ but Skagway has never really policed that.”
Deach said Hall’s “situation is in the works” regarding his apparent lack of up-to-date permits for a dog sled tour business identified at the previous Board of Adjustment meeting addressing the three public appeals.
“There’s (currently) no fine structure, and no one to assign the fines,” Deach said.
He said the plan is for David Van Horn, who has been the permitting officer in Skagway for about three months, to start addressing permits as well as improving the fine situation.
Van Horn said he is currently drafting a letter to inform Hall he will need to get a conditional use permit for his dog sled tour.
One of the main issues for those opposing the granting of Murphy’s first application centered on noise from the dogs that would be housed on the property for the mushing demonstrations.
Kareen Hoover, another nearby resident, said she still believes the noise generated by the dogs at the location is going to affect the people in the area.
“It’s going to have an impact on the people on the hillside because the sound will travel up,” Hoover said. “I know the people out in the (Dyea) valley don’t appreciate the barking there.”
Murphy, who was unavailable for comment, argued in his second application that his use of the property “may increase the value of neighboring properties due to the light and seasonal type of use. He also said that once his property is developed, “it will be unavailable for other allowable but much more intrusive uses (such as a crushing operation), and will provide an insulation barrier for surrounding properties from such types of allowable (industrial) use.”
As for the public safety and water and sewer concerns, Murphy’s revised application states, “This proposed use will protect the public health, safety and welfare by abiding by all regulatory agencies’ guidelines including, but not limited to: septic, electricity, UBC conformity, ADA requirements, and other requirements for any applicable uses.
“The habitat for bears must be approved by the state of Alaska before we will be allowed to host any animals. Criteria for meeting all standards, including safety and well being of the animals and humans is clearly addressed in their guidelines. If we fail on any level to protect the well being of our animals, or any humans, we will not be issued a permit. With this in mind, any safety concerns the public or neighboring property owners may have will be addressed and be deemed ‘suitable for occupancy’ before we host any bears.”
Murphy also pointed to Casey Anderson’s successful bear sanctuary in Montana as an example of what he hopes to create and said that Anderson is working with him on the development of his bear habitat in Skagway.
The number of puppies Murphy could house was also questioned during the first Planning and Zoning meeting.
Although Murphy’s revised application states, “Our sled demonstration will consist of up to 10 adult dogs,” it still does not give a specific amount of puppies because Murphy had said that can be an unpredictable number.
Murphy’s second application did, however, state that the dogs would be kept in a barn during the nighttime hours to mitigate potential noise.
Hoover, who along with her husband Darrel submitted an appeal letter regarding Murphy’s first application said she chose not to attend the Nov. 10 P&Z meeting.
“We did not get a packet when we received notification of the meeting,” she said. “I attended several other meetings, and I had a feeling it was going to go through, so we just let it go.”
Although she said she’s still not really in favor of the idea, Hoover said she did feel a bit better knowing the proposal requires state permits.
“He’s definitely going to have to put in some well-controlled safety measures and obviously he is going to have to have state permitting as far as water and sewer goes,” Hoover said.
“But I still don’t think it’s right. My concern was mainly for Charlotte and Jim Jewell and Tom Hall with him putting a restaurant in because they have established businesses there. I know it’s free enterprise, but he’s cutting the pie smaller for everyone.”
Plus, Hoover said she still finds the idea of a bear habitat a little disturbing.
“Bears belong in the wild,” she said, “they don’t belong in the zoo”
Dave Shirokauer, a Dyea Road resident said at an earlier meeting that, “it’s selling ourselves short” to build a bear-viewing habitat.
However, he said Nov. 15 that he is definitely not concerned about Murphy’s ability to create a humane captive bear facility. He said his concern is about the choice of a captive bear exhibit over that of a wild bear tour.
“Alaska sells itself on nature and wildlife,” he explained. “People come from all over the world to see wild bears in Alaska. I think Alaska should sell wild bears, and we have them. In Dyea, there’s a salmon run, and people go to watch bears out there.”
Shirokauer added that although the Dyea bear viewing is not currently a managed situation, he believes it could be commercialized.
“I wouldn’t have a problem if someone wanted to have a tour there,” he said.
Hoover said she had no plans to file another appeal letter.
“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “We have to give him a chance. If Planning and Zoning approved it, then he’s on his way.”
Van Horn said Monday that Jewell had filed a new appeal. Both of Jewell’s appeal letters are referencing the same issues, Van Horn said. Now it is up to the Assembly to decide of it wants to hear the appeal, he said. That will be decided at either a special meeting or the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 2.
Reached on Monday, Jewell said he was out of town on Nov. 10 and had asked for a copy of the minutes which where were not done by the 19th.
“They hadn’t, and still haven’t, gotten that to me, so we put in that letter basically stating we haven’t seen what was approved,” he said. “We wanted to get that letter in place. We may or may not object to it.”
“Personally, I still think it was fairly vague,” Jewell added. “It still didn’t have building sizes and such. Our biggest concern at the garden really is the noise. The fact that he has put in kennels for the dogs at night will be greatly appreciated but our tours are during the day. Being garden tours and such, the whole garden tour is based on a quiet and tranquil setting.”

AIDEA objects to wharfage hike at ore dock

White Pass not commenting, settlement may be pending

By JEFF BRADY

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, owners of the Skagway Ore Terminal, are involved in a dispute with White Pass affiliate Pacific and Arctic Railway and Navigation Co. over a proposed hike in wharfage fees for ore moving over the company’s dock to ships.
The dispute was outlined at AIDEA’s Oct. 20 board meeting and reported in the Alaska Journal of Commerce. AIDEA, acting on behalf of its lone customer, Capstone Mining Corp, said the wharfage fees were increasing “tenfold” and could jeopardize future business for the port.
“Skagway Ore Terminal is a vital source of economic activity for the community and surrounding region,” Ted Leonard, the authority’s executive director told the weekly business newspaper. “AIDEA has been and remains very involved in on-going efforts to expand the terminal’s customer base. We are concerned that an increase in fees could impact Skagway’s ability to be competitive.”
The Journal of Commerce reported that discussions were underway to resolve the dispute, but that litigation was possible.
The AIDEA board was meeting again on Monday, Nov. 22. Karsten Rodvik, project manager for external affairs e-mailed that there had been no final resolution, but the parties had met to discuss future port opportunities.
White Pass president Eugene Hretzay, reached by phone Monday, said the issue was on his “front burner” but that he could not comment further. He said he hoped to have some news on it soon.
Hretzay said the dispute had nothing to do with the delay in the company getting a proposal to the borough for a tidelands lease extension.
“We will try to get something to them shortly,” he said. “There’s been no reason for the delay other than attorney delays.”
Mayor Tom Cochran recently said he plans to schedule an executive session on the matter at the next assembly meeting on Dec. 2. In a phone interview over the weekend, he said it may be time for the borough to initiate something.
The company and the municipality signed a memorandum of understanding last summer to begin work on a tidelands lease extension. The current 55-year lease expires in 2018, and AIDEA has expressed interest seeing an extension so they can lure more future customers for the terminal. It’s also seen as a key ingredient to the parties working together on expansion of facilities as part of the Skagway Gateway Project.

 OPEN SPACES – Even the Sarah Palin Store is for rent in downtown Skagway, along with at least seven other properties including the NPS-owned Pantheon building at 4th and Broadway. JB

Commercial vacancies increase; still no lease for Pantheon

By GAYLE DEATON

Is it economic caution or the result of fewer cruise ships docking here last year that has led to more “For Rent” signs in downtown Skagway?
Typically, business people say there may be two or three spaces for lease in downtown Skagway, but there are currently at least eight windows with for rent signs along the historic business district. And, for the second year in a row, no one has leased the National Park Service’s Pantheon building located in a prime spot on Broadway.
Last year’s proposals to lease it were deemed not strong enough to make the review panel comfortable enough to give the green light to any one of them, McCluskey said.
The NPS owns the building and had advertised a request for proposals (RFP) August 23 with a deadline of Oct. 22. However, Reed McCluskey, chief of  business and administration for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, said no proposals were received.
“The sense I got was that folks were just a little more cautious about making a commitment,” McCluskey said. “I had a couple of people ask if they could just lease the space for a year.”
McCluskey said although he tries to act as a liaison between the tenant and the park service, he is not authorized to deviate from leasing requirements of NPS buildings.
“We don’t have that latitude,” he explained. “Certain restrictions go with leasing an NPS building.”
Some of those restrictions include specifics cited in the RFP such as submission of a business plan, evidence of sufficient funding and the use of appropriate historic furnishings for doing business in the historical district.
The Pantheon, which is connected to the Red Front Building, is now leased as a separate retail space. When it was first offered 11 years ago, the buildings were leased together. That changed when the lease came up in 2009, and a decision was made to split them into two leases. The Red Front was rented last year for about $80,000 a year, far above its minimal appraised value, $44,500. However, the proposals for the Pantheon did not meet park standards and the building sat vacant last summer except for some park programs.
It will likely see another summer without tenants.
Proposals were considered for periods ranging from 5 to 10 years and the minimum annual rent was $45,714 for 802 square feet – a bargain when compared to other rental prices on Broadway.
Local realtor and appraiser David Brena said he’s definitely noticed there are more vacancies than normal.
“Many years there were no vacancies at all through the winter and definitely none during the season,” he said. “There are a variety of reasons. Skagway is too small of a retail market to apply a single macro cause.”
Some of the factors he believes influence the area market the most include property location, number of travelers and cruise ships, national economy, landlord expectations, prospective tenant expectations, mix of goods sold by individual stores and lease rates.
“With the size of Skagway’s retail market measured in blocks, I typically analyze individual properties by size, quality of the building/appeal, location, lease rate, and functional issues,” he said.
Ultimately, Brena said he believes Skagway will come out on top.
“Skagway is an excellent retail market,” he said, “and it will continue to trend upward over the long term.”
Local real estate and business owner Dennis Corrington said in a telephone interview that he’s also noticed an increase in available commercial space for rent.
“We have over 20 rental units, and this year we have three that are available,” he said. “Normally, we’ll have a fairly high number of inquiries in August, September, and October. This August, September, October, we had fewer than three—a drastic difference in the number we usually have.”
Corrington said he believes there are multiple reasons why there are more vacancies than usual.
“It’s not just one thing – it’s a combination of things,” he said.
First, he said he believes the loss of three cruise ships impacted business in the town, which in turn impacts the next year’s rentals. The head tax increase, he said, probably didn’t help, along with property taxes failing to reflect current market rates.
“When the market goes down, it takes taxes a year to catch up with the market,” he said.
He said he believes the lack of year-round jobs available in Skagway has led to the town’s shrinking population that in turn has contributed to a whole host of problems.
“I came in the mid-70s and I’ve been watching the real estate market since then,” he said. “The availability of housing has never been so great – when people can’t get a job in Skagway – they move to other areas and leave their house behind.”
However, Corrington said he can see that the city is working hard on developing the ore terminal and the waterfront.
“Once that happens, that will help,” he said. “There will be year-round jobs.”
But for now, he ticked off a list of detractors that could be affecting the market such as no road to Juneau, the high cost of living, and the aging population that has to move away when their health becomes an issue.
“With the elders, goes the wisdom and the morals and rules and laws,” he said. “The history of the community moves away because the elders can’t stay because they have to go where there’s medical help. That leads to a younger population that’s always more liberal and focused on themselves.”
Unlike other local real estate owners, Corrington said he and his wife Nancy try to start some sort of theme store if they wind up with a vacant storefront for the summer season. Last year, he started a Sarah Palin theme store in one of his vacant storefronts.
“It did well,” he said. “When you jump into something like that, you can never anticipate what’s going to happen. People who didn’t like Sarah would come and look at the store but not come inside, and the people who did like Sarah would come inside.
Of course, we had a conservative ex-marine to run the store. We were pleased with it.”
He declined to reveal plans for any additional theme stores he might start in a vacant storefront in the 2011 season.
“There are 150 days with a finite number of visitors coming in each day and you just don’t know where they’re going to spend their money,” he said. The tour business has matured. There are 200 or more buses now and people go to shows and Carcross, take helicopter rides and go on fishing rides.
“So, when these people come off (the ships), it’s not as if you have these 800,000 people walking up one side and down the other. They’re scattered all over the place. They have more options but it makes it harder for the bricks and mortar stores.”
The park service will likely use the Pantheon for programs again next summer, but will have great lead time to develop a set schedule for it, McCluskey said. Then they will evaluate whether to try again to lease it.

Unemployment tops 20 percent in October

The transition from Skagway’s bustling summer economy into winter resulted in unemployment in the borough going from one of the lowest in the state to the highest.
According to the Alaska Department of Labor, Skagway’s unemployment level jumped from 3.9 percent in September to 20.4 percent in October. This compares with an unemployment level of 13.2 percent in October 2009.
Unemployment statewide increased from 7.9 percent in September to 8.4 percent in October. Skagway had the highest unemployment in October. The Wade Hampton Census Area in western Alaska was next at 18.1 percent. In September, Skagway had the second lowest unemployment next to Bristol Bay’s 3.0 percent.
The number on the unemployed roles here increased from just 29 in September to 123 in October. Skagway’s workforce in September was 738 and dropped to 603 in October, about 10 jobs less than in October 2009.
The state also announced that two federally funded programs that have provided benefits for some Alaskans eligible for unemployment compensation are being phased out. Claimants who will be affected are being notified as they file.
The last day to establish eligibility for federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation is Nov. 27. Claimants must have exhausted all regular unemployment benefits and state Extended Benefits by that date to be eligible for EUC. In Alaska there are currently three tiers of EUC benefits. Individuals can continue to collect benefits on their current EUC tier through the week ending April 30, 2011.
The Federal Additional Compensation program, which added $25 to each eligible weekly benefit payment to some Alaskans receiving unemployment insurance, will end the week of Dec. 11. FAC started in February 2009 and eligibility for the program ended in May 2010.
Alaska continues to pay state-funded EB. This program triggers on and off based on unemployment rates. Alaska has been triggered on to EB since January 2009. People must exhaust regular unemployment benefits to be eligible for this program.
All Alaskan job seekers are encouraged to visit the Alaska Job Center Network online at http://Jobs.Alaska.Gov. The services is also available at 23 job centers around the state.

LIGHT IN THE FUNNEL – Winter weather finally arrived last week with north winds gusting upwards of 40 mph and temperatures dropping into the teens. The winds blew snow off AB Mountain and kept the wind sock sticking straight out with a clear view of the light inside. Jeff Brady

BOROUGH DIGEST (complete digest in print edition)

Picketts make plans for Pullen RV park
 Merinda and Nick Pickett said they are excited to be awarded the Pullen Creek RV Park lease for the next five years.
“Nick helped his parents run it for eight years in the 90s,” Merinda Pickett said. “Now, we are so happy to have this opportunity for ourselves.”
She said the couple already has several ideas they plan to try.
“We have discussed having a few donation boxes in the office for different organizations that benefit the community of Skagway,” she said. “We would like to have one for Paws and Claws and one for donations to help a few families in need during the Christmas season.”
The couple also has discussed the idea of turning the park into a haunted “Trunk or Treat” event at Halloween if the community would be interested in such an event.
They plan to open the RV park in early to mid-April.
“We love Skagway,” she said, “and we're so grateful for this opportunity to be able to stay here and contribute to this beautiful place.”
At the Nov. 4 meeting, the Skagway Borough Assembly awarded the Pullen Creek RV Park lease to Merinda Pickett who submitted the highest bid at $33,000. The second highest bid was $28,501 and submitted by Tom Gerrard of Gerrard Electric, Inc. John and Sharon Garland submitted the third highest bid at $28,000 and Lisa Hollander submitted the low bid at $25,200.
Assembly members explained that they awarded the bid based on the overall highest submitted responsive bid because it means more revenue for the borough
The park went out to lease a year early after former operator Craig Weidner notified the borough that he wanted to opt out of his final year due to health reasons. – GD

Solution sought for standby pay for on-call municipal employees
The borough’s personnel and finance committees, as well as department heads, have been trying to come up with a solution for compensating employees who are on-call while on standby duty.
The issue came before finance earlier this month after the clinic requested permission to pay its medical assistants who are on-call.
Shelly Moss, administrator of the Dahl Memorial Clinic, said one MA at a time is needed to be on-call for after-hours emergencies, to assist the on-call medical provider. She said the providers are compensated individually in their contracts, but that there needed to be a resolution to the standby pay for the MAs.
Initially, they were going to be paid minimum wage, $7.75 per hour, but it was generally agreed that amount would send the clinic’s budget into shock. Instead, $2 an hour was suggested while they were on call, and then full pay if they are called in.
“I think that’s a fair way to go,” said Assemblywoman Colette Hisman.
The personnel policy committee consisting of Borough Treasurer Cindy O’Daniel, Frank Wasmer of the public works department, and Michelle Greenstreet from borough administration further recommended a resolution that the $2 per hour to be paid for shifts up to eight hours, and that the rate increase to $25 per shift for 8-15 hour shifts and $35 per shift for 16-24 hour shifts.
But Moss said she had a problem with the resolution paying less an hour for longer shifts.
O’Daniel agreed there needed to be more input on the resolution, which had been drafted after consulting with other communities.
Assemblyman Dave Hunz said he wanted to run the $2 per hour past department heads, and also see what situations constitute an on-call situation before he could support it.
Addressing the clinic’s situation, Moss said one of the three MAs is on call while the clinic is not open, and they rotate on a three-day schedule. She said they would be happy with $2 an hour for that time.
The was due to go before the Skagway Borough Assembly on Nov. 4, but it was scratched from the agenda and deferred to a department heads meeting on Nov. 9.
O’Daniel said during that meeting department heads gave their viewpoints on the $2 per hour rate and length of shifts, but it was noted that the police department standby rate is currently minimum wage. She said the matter would go back before Finance on Dec. 1 before the next assembly meeting.
In the meantime, the clinic MAs will be paid a temporary rate of $2 per hour for standby. – JB