On Wednesday morning, Mat-Su Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter visited the KTNA studio to answer questions about the borough budget, schools, the railroad, and other issues facing Upper Valley residents on Su-Valley Voice. Unfortunately, an issue with the recording means that KTNA will not be able to re-air the program or post it online this week. Su-Valley Voice host and News Producer Phillip Manning went through the parts of the recording that were recovered, and has this report: (more…)
On Friday, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly held a special meeting at the Willow Community Center to discuss the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. More than thirty area residents attended the meeting, but only a handful spoke. KTNA’s Phillip Manning was there, and has this report:
Most of the public testimony at Friday’s meeting came from Willow area residents requesting funding for area trails. After that, about half of the meeting consisted of comments from the Assembly Members themselves. Jim Sykes, who represents District 1, expressed concern about the borough relying increasingly on grants in order to fund expenses. He says that the portion of the budget paid for by borough taxes has decreased, while the amount funded by grants, mostly from the state, has increased from one-fifth of the budget to about one-third over the last decade. (more…)
On Monday, the Talkeetna Community Council board of directors held its regular monthly meeting. The bulk of the discussion centered around recovery from the 2012 flood, particularly funding for the repair of the dike and revetment on the Talkeetna River.
Casey Cook, Mat-Su Borough Emergency Manager, and Pam Ness, Borough Flood Plain Administrator, were present at the meeting to discuss the progress of flood control measures, including both state and federal funding. (more…)
The Alaska Board of Fisheries is in the midst of two weeks of meetings on potential changes to fishing regulations in the Upper Cook Inlet. The meetings have become the most recent venue for what are often referred to as the “fish wars.” Commercial, sport, and subsistence fishermen all depend on a finite resource, and all of them want to make sure they get their share of the stock. Often, discussions center around the Kenai and Kasilof, but the Mat-Su Borough is doing its best to shift some focus to the Susitna River as well. Acting Borough Fish Commission chair Larry Engel says that sustainability has become a serious problem for the Valley. (more…)
On Friday, a class-action suit was filed against the Matanuska-Susitna Borough on behalf of emergency services personnel. The suit claims that some Borough Emergency Services staff are owed for contributions to the Public Employee Retirement System, or PERS. The state’s Department of Administration audited the Borough in 2012, and determined that paid on-call emergency services workers should be eligible for the program. The Borough’s employment agreement does not include PERS contribution for emergency services employees. (more…)
The Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce is attempting to revitalize a nine-year-old Borough plan for the riverfront. Under the plan, which was approved by the Borough Assembly in 2004, the Mat-Su Borough would lease riverfront land from the Alaska Railroad with the intent to develop campsites and establish a concessionaire to maintain the property.
The plan has never been implemented, because no agreement has been made between the Borough and the Railroad. According to Chamber of Commerce President Beth Valentine, the Railroad is ready to look into leasing the property, but first needs a lease application from the Borough. (more…)
On Wednesday, the Talkeetna Sewer and Water Advisory Board held a special evening meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to provide consumers with a public forum to speak to both Borough staff and elected officials. Many of the invitees canceled due to deteriorating road conditions, including the Borough staff who had planned to attend. The weather did not keep everyone away, however. State Senator Mike Dunleavy made the trip to Talkeetna, and listened to the concerns of both the Advisory Board and other community members. (more…)
Tuesday, October 1st, is election day in the Mat-Su Borough.
Polling places are open from 7 A-M to 8 P-M .
Polling places are:
Trapper Creek precinct: Trapper Creek Elementary School
Talkeetna precinct: Talkeetna Elementary School
Susitna precinct: Public Safety Building Station 11-2 on the Parks Highway
Willow precinct: Willow Community Center Included in the Borough-wide vote are three school board seats and two ballot propositions. (more…)
(Full audio of Borough Assembly meetings is streamed at Radio Free Palmer)
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly voted five to two to negotiate a deal that would see the M/V Susitna placed into dry-dock in Port Mackenzie. Removing the eighty-million dollar ferry from the water is one of five options presented to the Assembly by Borough Manager John Moosey. Other options were to sell, operate, or scrap the ferry, or else continue under the current conditions, leaving the Susitna docked in Ketchikan. Moosey described what he envisions the dry-docking option as entailing. (more…)