Attached is the complete audio from Thursday’s meeting. The two dominant issues were the Willow Fire Service Area Mill Rate and the borough contribution to the Mat-Su Borough School District’s funding. Talkeetna residents also spoke about the Talkeetna sewer and water system.
This October, East Talkeetna and River Subdivision residents will vote on whether to join the Talkeetna Flood Control Service Area. The service area is a special tax district, currently levied at 1.39 mills. The Borough Manager’s proposed budget would reduce the mill rate to 1.07 for the area.
The proposed expansion would be bordered by the Alaksa Railroad, the Talkeetna River, and a combination of Twister Creek slough and the ridge line.
The issue of annexation came up after it was discovered that East Talkeetna is not covered by the existing flood service area. According to Mat-Su Borough officials, that designation is required in order for the borough to do flood mitigation work or act as a pass-through for state and federal flood control funds. FEMA funding after a flood is not affected by the designation. Taxes raised through the levy are also available for flood control, but the amount is not sufficient to do major work. The flood service area’s current revenue is about $22,000 per year.
According to borough code, a majority of voters residing in the proposed expansion zone who vote in the borough election must approve the annexation for it to take place. The Talkeetna Community Council conducted an advisory vote on pursuing the expansion last October. On a vote of 48-10, the council was advised to proceed. This year’s borough election will be on October 6th,
In this edition of Su-Valley Voice, Mat-Su Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter joins Phillip Manning to discuss the borough budget and other issues facing the borough and assembly.
The changing landscape of rivers in the Upper Valley is causing concern for business owners and residents in Talkeetna. One issue is the filling of the Talkeetna Boat Launch with silt. That issue, and the planned solution came up at Monday’s Talkeetna Community Council meeting. KTNA’s Phillip Manning was there and has this report:
Upper Valley residents sometimes pride themselves on the area’s “wild” rivers. The Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna are not dammed at any point, and allowed to flow in their channels freely. Over time, those channels can shift. At Monday’s Talkeetna Community Council board of directors meeting, Talkeetna Boat Launch operator Aaron Benjamin told the Council about the problem he has seen growing in recent years.
“Right now, the Talkeetna river has been moving to the far side, as everybody knows, and the channel that the launch is in is getting less and less water every year.” Read More »
Thirty-four birders enjoyed mostly sunny skies and snow-free hiking for the annual Talkeetna-Trapper Creek Birdathon held on Friday and Saturday. The informal event is a competition, as well as a group effort, to find and identify all the resident and migrating bird species in the area.
Local birders turned up a total of 62 different species, one more than last year. The highest count was ten years ago, with 85 species for a group total.
Birdathon participants remarked on the amazing numbers of common redpolls. Lack of birch seeds last year meant that these small finches were very scarce, but the recent bumper crop of their preferred food brought flocks that seemed to fill the landscape and soundscape this spring.
Disclosure: Phillip Manning serves on the board of directors for the Denali Arts Council, which is hosting the art show discussed in the story.
The value of art education has been established through numerous studies and personal accounts. Many schools, however, are not able to directly fund art programs for their students. Talkeetna Elementary does have an art program, which is funded through grants and local crowdfunding. KTNA’s Phillip Manning spoke with two of the people involved in the program, and has this story:
It’s a lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon in Talkeetna. Many people around town are clearly taking any excuse they can not to be inside, but there is a large group that has gathered around and inside the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. The Hangar regularly displays Alaskan art, but this show is different, because every piece on display was made by students at Talkeetna Elementary School. To explain the show, I spoke with art teacher Bekah Mathiesen. Read More »