Skating Away

Dennis Bousson glides past the warming hut during a peaceful skate outside the Rec. Center early one morning last week. The skating rink, with its new side boards, has been getting lots of use during this March’s cold weather. Photo by Jeff Brady

Bounds protests contract decision
Attorney requests lost profits, contract to Bounds and no payments to H&H

By JEFF BRADY
The new Skagway Development Corporation was granted $20,000 from the Skagway City Council on March 7, but the start-up money will not be available to the group until the Internal Revenue Service approves its application as a 5.01 C. (6) non-profit corporation.
That application was filed about two months ago, said SDC board member Curt Dodd, and approval could take another month.
The SDC has already secured its certificate of incorporation as a non-profit from the State of Alaska, established by-laws, and enacted articles of incorporation and a board of directors. In addition to Dodd, board members are Stuart Brown, Lorraine Cook, Janilyn Heger, and Lynn Herbig. They are looking for two more people to serve.
Addressing the council, Heger said the board members are professional people who want to help diversify the local economy.
She said she understood concerns about “not wanting to go there” after the dismantling of the city-run Economic Development Commission last year, but said she believes there are ways to create new, year-round businesses in Skagway.
Audience member John Tronrud, a member of the old EDC, said he appreciated the intentions of the new group, but said he doesn’t think people in Skagway want economic development, at least on a small scale.
He said a lot of businesses that used to operate in the shoulder season are content with just staying open in the summer. Tronrud said the money would be better spent on capital projects, or toward opening up more land for the people who already have jobs.
Dodd said the $20,000 request would get the corporation through June, but added that if the money was not approved, then the SDC members would “do it on our own .... and maybe come back later.” The SDC is also hoping for a line item in the FY 2003 city budget, he said.
“We’re not trying to overcrowd the economics in town,” Dodd said, adding that the group “hopes to bring a positive impact.”
Accoding to a white paper, SDC is working on these projects: a $300,000 grant to create revolving loan fund, a $40,000 grant for a new business devlopment program, a $10,000 grant for a “terrific teacher incentive and enrichment program” for the Skagway Child Care Council, and researching various grants for the Skagway Senior Housing Project on behalf of the Skagway Senior Task Force.
However, Ward noted that as a result of the fallout from the elimination of the old EDC, a number of donors to the Senior Project had asked for refunds of their donations. “We are making every effort to refund those dollars,” he said.
Council members for the most part supported the SDC’s request, but were not committed to long-term funding of the corporation.
“I support the concept of economic development, but we need open eyes about it...” Mayor Tim Bourcy said. “We lost one B&B and a hotel for the winter. There has been some erosion.”
Mike Korsmo said that when the council eliminated the old EDC, it left open the opportunity for a non-profit to step forward. The local Chamber of Commerce was offered the task, but members rejected it in a referendum last summer, and that decision was recently upheld by the chamber’s board of directors, said City Manager Bob Ward.
Ward said that an earlier draft of the resolution mistakenly said the group had applied for IRS 5.01. C. (3) status.
Council member Dave Hunz was glad to see a group step forward and said the spending proposal would be an appropriate use of Tongass funds.
Colette Hisman said she was hesitant to approve the resolution before the IRS status was confirmed, and Bourcy suggested they consider tabling the issue until then. Hisman also was concerned that the SDC have adequate insurance in place before it uses any of the old EDC office equipment. The SDC is in the process of securing office space, but wants to lease the old equipment from the city.
However, Hunz convinced other members not to table the issue, and instead offered an amendment that approved the $20,000 request “pending verification of IRS 5.01 C. (6) and adequate insurance.”
Hisman preferred to table the issue, and voted against the amendment, but it passed 4-1. Council members voted the same way for the main resolution, but they cautioned that this may be all the money the SDC will get.
“I’m still not married to this after July 1 (beginning of fiscal year),” said Councilmember Dan Henry.
“I agree,” said Councilmember J. Frey. “There’s a lot of opposition to this ... We can help get it going but not beyond that.”
“They’ll have a chance to show us,” Korsmo added.

Council approves SDC funds
Pending IRS non-profit status approval

By JEFF BRADY
The new Skagway Development Corporation was granted $20,000 from the Skagway City Council on March 7, but the start-up money will not be available to the group until the Internal Revenue Service approves its application as a 5.01 C. (6) non-profit corporation.
That application was filed about two months ago, said SDC board member Curt Dodd, and approval could take another month.
The SDC has already secured its certificate of incorporation as a non-profit from the State of Alaska, established by-laws, and enacted articles of incorporation and a board of directors. In addition to Dodd, board members are Stuart Brown, Lorraine Cook, Janilyn Heger, and Lynn Herbig. They are looking for two more people to serve.
Addressing the council, Heger said the board members are professional people who want to help diversify the local economy.
She said she understood concerns about “not wanting to go there” after the dismantling of the city-run Economic Development Commission last year, but said she believes there are ways to create new, year-round businesses in Skagway.
Audience member John Tronrud, a member of the old EDC, said he appreciated the intentions of the new group, but said he doesn’t think people in Skagway want economic development, at least on a small scale.
He said a lot of businesses that used to operate in the shoulder season are content with just staying open in the summer. Tronrud said the money would be better spent on capital projects, or toward opening up more land for the people who already have jobs.
Dodd said the $20,000 request would get the corporation through June, but added that if the money was not approved, then the SDC members would “do it on our own .... and maybe come back later.” The SDC is also hoping for a line item in the FY 2003 city budget, he said.
“We’re not trying to overcrowd the economics in town,” Dodd said, adding that the group “hopes to bring a positive impact.”
Accoding to a white paper, SDC is working on these projects: a $300,000 grant to create revolving loan fund, a $40,000 grant for a new business devlopment program, a $10,000 grant for a “terrific teacher incentive and enrichment program” for the Skagway Child Care Council, and researching various grants for the Skagway Senior Housing Project on behalf of the Skagway Senior Task Force.
However, Ward noted that as a result of the fallout from the elimination of the old EDC, a number of donors to the Senior Project had asked for refunds of their donations. “We are making every effort to refund those dollars,” he said.
Council members for the most part supported the SDC’s request, but were not committed to long-term funding of the corporation.
“I support the concept of economic development, but we need open eyes about it...” Mayor Tim Bourcy said. “We lost one B&B and a hotel for the winter. There has been some erosion.”
Mike Korsmo said that when the council eliminated the old EDC, it left open the opportunity for a non-profit to step forward. The local Chamber of Commerce was offered the task, but members rejected it in a referendum last summer, and that decision was recently upheld by the chamber’s board of directors, said City Manager Bob Ward.
Ward said that an earlier draft of the resolution mistakenly said the group had applied for IRS 5.01. C. (3) status.
Council member Dave Hunz was glad to see a group step forward and said the spending proposal would be an appropriate use of Tongass funds.
Colette Hisman said she was hesitant to approve the resolution before the IRS status was confirmed, and Bourcy suggested they consider tabling the issue until then. Hisman also was concerned that the SDC have adequate insurance in place before it uses any of the old EDC office equipment. The SDC is in the process of securing office space, but wants to lease the old equipment from the city.
However, Hunz convinced other members not to table the issue, and instead offered an amendment that approved the $20,000 request “pending verification of IRS 5.01 C. (6) and adequate insurance.”
Hisman preferred to table the issue, and voted against the amendment, but it passed 4-1. Council members voted the same way for the main resolution, but they cautioned that this may be all the money the SDC will get.
“I’m still not married to this after July 1 (beginning of fiscal year),” said Councilmember Dan Henry.
“I agree,” said Councilmember J. Frey. “There’s a lot of opposition to this ... We can help get it going but not beyond that.”
“They’ll have a chance to show us,” Korsmo added.

Moratorium on more animal-drawn carts
The Skagway City Council has established a moratorium on additional animal drawn conveyances in the city until Nov. 1, 2002 pending a review of city code and issues contributing to vehicle and pedestrian crowding in the Historic District.
Resolution 2002-11R passed on a 4-1 vote at the March 7 meeting. Councilmembers J. Frey, Colette Hisman, Mike Korsmo and Dan Henry voted for the measure, and Dave Hunz voted against it. Stan Selmer was absent.
The resolution rolls back the clock to 2000, allowing only one operator in the city: Skagway Carriage Co., which is owned by the Garland family and uses four-passenger horse-driven carts. The resolution says this operation “offers an appropriate size and scale of operation given the nature of Broadway congestion.”
Haines Carriage Co., which operated briefly last summer after Mayor John Mielke vetoed a similar city council moratorium, will not be allowed to return with its 33-foot-long horse-drawn wagon. This vehicle had problems turning around on Congress Way near the Railroad Dock.
Ron Walker, the Haines operator, could not be reached for comment about the resolution. His Haines phone had been disconnected. However, he had at least one supporter in the audience and one at the table.
Tom Hall, who owns Klondike Gold Dredge, said he doesn’t see how the city council can single out one operator, “if for some other reason than it’s slow.” He said there was a similar operation in Ketchikan which is just as crowded, adding that the resolution wouldn’t stop someone from pulling ore carts behind a tractor.
Councilmember Dave Hunz said he couldn’t support a resolution that affects one operation.
“I realize there’s a problem down there, but it’s an overall problem...,” Hunz said. “By targeting one group doesn’t do it.”
But Councilmember Dan Henry said the onus was on the council to react to congestion issues, and try to rectify problems before they start.
“At some point we have to say we have to get a handle on this,” Henry said.
Councilmember Colette Hisman said there are safety concerns with adding more horse-drawn carts to the street. They sometimes get away from their operators, she said.
Councilmember J. Frey and Mayor Tim Bourcy expressed frustration that they had not dealt with the overall congestion issue last October. Bourcy suggested that the council still had time to focus on the issue before summer. But other members disagreed, and Bourcy then instructed them to address congestion during the summer, so a plan is in place by November.– JB

Concerns lead Museum board to decline proposal
The Skagway Museum Board unanimously declined to endorse the draft Memorandum of Agreement between the city and Dr. Bob White of Juneau at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The agreement is for a public/private partnership to landscape Veteran’s Park from Seventh to Eighth Avenue as a walkway to the art museum and gift store White has planned for his property at Eighth and Spring.
The Museum Board rejected the proposal based on legal ramifications of the proposal on the City Museum’s outdoor collection of the Quonset Hut and the World War II exhibits in the park.
The board has been working with the city over the last year to incorporate the Museum’s outdoor exhibits into the landscaping plan for the east and west side of the McCabe Building, and Veteran’s Park is part of the plan.
Other additional issues include: if there are public policy guidelines for private/public partnerships in city parks and properties; whether there’s a clearly defined scope of project in the MOA; should the MOA include extended insurance; and the establishment of a “Museum Preservation Zone” of a 10-foot buffer zone surrounding the outdoor exhibits.
The board also wanted to know what the legal business names will be used by White, as he has offered the names Skagway Art and Culture Center and Alaska Historical Museum. –DL

Council graduates school budget to next hearing level
The Skagway City Council held a meeting with the Skagway School Board March 11 to go over the school’s Fiscal Year 2003 budget, and they moved it along in the budget process.
Initially there was some concern that the shortfall in the school’s budget would hit $50,000, but it looks more likely that $20,000 is the closer call, said Board President Christine Ellis.
Last year the school requested $896,547 from the city, this year $874,058 – a difference of $22,489.
Last year the school received $787,290 from the state, this year it’s estimated to come in at $729,050 – a difference of $48,240.
This year’s total budget is $1,653,557. Last year’s was $1,700,701 – a $47,144 difference.
Superintendent James Telles said the school had saved in the neighborhood of $25,000 on heating and electrical bills with maintenance to the heating/cooling system and conservation of electricity.
“We had a system that was running – running wild,” said Telles.
Student population will decline to a projected 116 next year. This does not include children of seasonal workers who are removed at the end of the tourist season. Since the state takes its head count for the funding formula at the end of October, Telles and the board are trying to have the date changed because the school pays for those students while they are enrolled but gets no money from the state for them.
“Just approve it,” said Councilmember J. Frey. “It looks like the school board has done its job.”
The School Board was expected to approve its final budget at its March 14 meeting, which was moved up a week because of Spring Break.
The council will meet with all city departments to go over their budgets during work sessions over the next few weeks, and then vote in regular meetings on the entire city budget before the end of the fiscal year. – DL

OTHER STORIES

• Ranger Post Soldier Hollow, Skagway's man at the Olympics

• 2002 tourist season forecast, same numbers on ships, bookings variable

• Editorial: Proposed museum agreement for Veterans Parks lacks logic

• School Sports: SHS teams prepare for 2A tourney in Ketchikan

• Obituary: Gilbert "Smokey" Knapp

• Photo Feature: Poetry and Storytelling Night

To read every story in The Skagway News, you have to subscribe to the real thing. Cost for an out-of-town subscription is just $30 a year second class mail or $40 a year first class mail. We take credit cards. Call us at 907-983-2354, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays Alaska time, or just mail a check to Skagway News, Box 498, Skagway, AK 99840.