This tree fell in the cemetery along Dyea Road on Jan. 28. Borough Manager Scott Hahn said the tree has been chopped up and disposed of, and did not cause any significant damage to the cemetery on its way down. PHOTO BY PAM JOY

Budget amendments pass

Two ordinances amending the Fiscal Year 2018 budget were approved by the Borough Assembly at its Feb. 1 meeting. The first of these would amend the Sales Tax, Commercial Passenger Vehicle Excise Tax, Capital Project and Port Fund budgets to account for expenditures related to work done by Port Consultant Moffatt & Nichol, Public Safety Facility communications equipment and services, increased purchase price of the new garbage truck, engineering services for the Seven Pastures flood control project and the electrical upgrade needed at the Garden City RV Park.

The second ordinance amended the FY2018 Sales Tax, CPV Excise Tax, General, Tourism, Clinic, Water/Sewer, Solid Waste, Harbor and Port Fund Budgets to account for an increase in the cost of computer support services.

Both ordinances passed with a 6-0 vote.

Odor Control Design proposal approved

Waste smells – that’s a fact, but the Municipality of Skagway is taking steps to curtail the amount of odor coming from its Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Following a pilot program for the project that occurred in August 2017, the borough is now diving into the engineering phase for odor control at the plant.

At a recent assembly meeting, Assembly Member Steve Burnham Jr. moved to approve a proposed scope of services by the firm HDR in an amount not to exceed $144,570. The motion passed 6-0.

National Honor Society raises money for young Skagwegian

Skagway’s National Honor Society students have wrapped up a fundraiser for Danica Taylor, a very young Skagwegian who underwent tumor-removal surgery in late 2017.

“All the proceeds go to Danica Taylor, and help pay for her medical bills,” said Honor Society student Madison Cox.

The fundraiser took the form of a coin drive competition. Pennies counted as one point, with nickels, dimes and quarters all counting as negative points. The drive was broken down into a competition by grade level  – with the teachers getting their own coin-collecting jar as well. Students and faculty competed to score the most points with pennies, and could also “sabotage” their peers by dropping nickels, dimes and quarters in the competition’s jars, Cox said.

The fundraiser ended late on Monday, Feb. 5, with the students in the Honor Society planning on counting out the large chunks of change over the next week.

The event plays into the goals of the National Honor Society, which requires students in the program to do community service.

“This was a really good cause that we all felt really affected by,” Cox said. Cox, Kara Whitehead, Micah Cook, Sadie Murphy, Danny Brady, Jessica Whitehead, Tanner Hansen and Jennifer Hansen were all sworn into the Nationals Honor Society on Dec. 13.

Labor-based incinerator fee proposed

An additional fee is being discussed regarding Skagway’s incinerator and cars that take too long to unload at that facility. At a Public Works Committee meeting on Feb. 2, committee members talked about tricky truckloads of garbage coming up to the incinerator to be burned, and the delay that extra work puts on borough employees and the other customers waiting in line.

Committee Member Orion Hanson said – while some incinerator users will be disposing of one type of material like cardboard, and others will sort different materials like metal and papers into different piles for fast unloading – sometimes vehicles will pull up to the facility with a big jumble of materials. This takes time to unload and sort through, and has the potential to hold up the line of cars waiting to use the facility.

“And there are times, especially in the summer, where you have somebody disorganized like that, and the line is out of the gate,” Hanson said.

To try to deter this, the committee discussed levying a fee for cars that show up disorganized to the incinerator.

Ultimately the group decided to recommend that a fee schedule be brought forward to the Borough Assembly in the form of a resolution. The proposed fee would be charged for labor in excess of five minutes, to the rate of $10 for 15 minutes of labor. The assembly will need to make the final decision on the proposed fee at an upcoming meeting.

Mayor creates new Elder Care Committee

Following the disbanding of the Senior Center Committee, Mayor Monica Carlson has created a new Senior Elder Care Ad Hoc Committee,

The committee is comprised of Denise Caposey, Carl Mulvihill and Kathy O’Daniel.

“When I held the senior committee meeting…there was a consensus that the job was well-done, but they really felt there should be more assisted living rather than apartments,” Carlson said.

The mayor said the new ad hoc committee would review the plans presented to the municipality by MRV Architects and, of paramount importance, come up with a business plan for operating the facility.

“How it [the senior center] can afford to pay for itself basically, without support, or very little support, from the city, because the vote of course just narrowly passed, but it was only to build it and not to operate that,” Carlson said, referring to the 2016 vote to construct a $6 million senior center, which passed by only five votes.

Assembly authorizes engineering for water, sewer across bridge

At the tail end of its Feb. 1 meeting, the Borough Assembly motioned to authorize the borough manager to solicit engineering designs for running water and sewer utilities across the Skagway River bridge to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities shops, for a discussed purpose of creating a new RV park on the other side of the Skagway River.

In the discussion leading up to that vote, Assembly Member Orion Hanson suggested adopting a three-year goal for creating and opening a RV park in the 15 acres of land owned by Skagway near the Klondike Highway/Dyea Road turnoff. Hanson said the first step would be to authorize engineering services to come up with a budget and a design to run water and sewer across the bridge spanning Skagway’s river, and to determine how far out those services should be extended.

“This is long-term, this is looking to the development of Skagway decades and decades down the road, it’s unlocking potential across the bridge that’s kind of held up by the lack of services over there,” Hanson said.

Mayor Monica Carlson said she thinks the municipality needs to utilize the Garden City RV Park to its full potential, which she said would be housing for the community.

Within a three-year timeline, Carlson said the Planning and Zoning Commission would be able to hone in on the best use of Garden City.

Pointing out a potential problem with the 15-acre site, Assembly Member David Brena stated that the potential RV park would sit near rock-crushing operations: a high-intensity, industrially-used area.

“I understand we don’t have a lot of options, but I don’t know how that’s going to work in the long term,” Brena said.

In the end, Hanson made the motion, which was approved 6-0 by the assembly.