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…)
Some residents in the Christiansen Lake area have received a notification from the Mat-Su Borough that a 93-acre parcel of land is being subdivided. The land includes a portion of the Talkeetna Lakes Park, and surrounds the entirety of ‘Y’ Lake and part of Christiansen Lake’s south shore. The Borough says there is no cause for concern, however. Nancy Cameron, Land Management Agent for the Mat-Su Borough, says that the division is part of a process that will allow the Borough to obtain complete control over the land. Cameron says that the land parcel was selected by the Borough as part of the Municipal Entitlement Lands project, and that while the state has allowed the Mat-Su to conduct the management of the land, it still technically belongs to the State of Alaska.
According to Cameron, the state issues specific survey requirements before the Borough can be granted complete ownership. In this case, they are requiring that the land be broken into five parcels. Cameron provided K-T-N-A with an email that she sent to Borough Assembly Member Vern Halter, where she explicitly states that the Borough intends to leave the land as park area. Cameron says the park land was prioritized for surveying so that the Borough could maintain full control of the land. She says that there is no plan for development other than for the Talkeetna Lakes Park.
Story by KTNA’s Melis Coady:
Matanuska-Susitna Borough voters will decide on October 1st whether to approve a 5 percent alcohol tax.
On July 16th, the Mat-Su Assembly voted 6 to 1 to suggest a tax on alcohol sales in bars, restaurants and liquor stores.
The ordinance is almost identical to one that is used in Fairbank’s North Star Borough.
It is estimated that the tax could bring in $1 million annually. The intention of the proposed tax was to find other sources of income to directly fund education and emergency services. (more…)
The debt of the Talkeetna water and sewage system is significantly higher than previously reported. On July 12th, KTNA reported, after the Sewer and Water Advisory Board meeting, that the debt owed to the Mat-Su Borough for shortfalls in operating expenses was around $300,000. At the meeting this Wednesday, Board chair Karen Schapansky said that the number is closer to $500,000, in addition to $160,000 borrowed from the Borough’s “revolving loan” process.
As a result of the consistent deficit of the sewer and water system, Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss plans to ask for a 10% rate increase for customers of the borough-run utility. A borough memorandum indicates that the ordinance will be introduced at the August 6th Assembly meeting. (more…)