By Gretchen Wehmhoff
With a 16-point spread, Skagway voters approved a controversial revenue bond set to improve and update the harbor. Funds will go to planned improvements on Broadway and Ore docks.
The $65 million bond will be repaid by revenue generated by the harbor improvements. City officials have stated the repayment will not come out of municipal tax money collected from home and business owners who are not using the docks.
Voters sent Orion Hanson back to the Skagway Assembly with 63% of votes cast between five candidates.
“I‘m honored to be reelected,” Hanson said. He stated his plans for this term are “good, honest representation.”
Former assemblymember Dan Henry joins the assembly with 53% of the total votes cast. Henry, who served for two decades on the body, is returning after being ousted in 2020. Despite Henry serving federal prison time in 2016 for failing to pay timely income taxes, voters returned him to public service.
Lone school board candidate, Luke Rauscher, will take a seat on the board with 74% of the total votes cast.
Two assembly candidates withdrew themselves from the race after the ballots had been printed. They each received votes, however, with Katie Auer taking 3% of the vote and Janilyn Heger tallying 14%.
Heger sent a letter to the assembly and the media just before the election.
“Given the enormous challenges the city is facing this winter season, I thought I should run for city assembly. I’m writing to ask you to consider voting for the most qualified candidates this election, and in my opinion, it’s not me,” Heger wrote.
Heger then went on to ask voters to vote for Hanson and Henry instead of her.
Third place candidate with 40% of the vote, Alexandria Weddell, said she was disappointed that Heger withdrew two days before the election. However, Weddell is looking onward.
“I don’t have any concrete plans to run for assembly in the near future, but I do want to find a way to serve my community,” Weddell said.
Assembly members will now be subject to employee policies.
In closing remarks at the Oct. 6 assembly meeting, Mayor Andrew Cremata noted that since the assembly members will now be receiving checks, they have become employees of the municipality and will need to take a required 25-minute training on workplace harassment.
“This training is a little bit new. And I want to make sure everybody does it and fully understands, you know, what being a responsible person in an office environment means so that nobody makes a mistake and upsets somebody that results in a lawsuit or something worse,” Cremata said.
The uncertified elections results show 40% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the Oct. 4 election. Those detailed results can be found HERE or at Skagway.org, Oct. 6 Assembly meeting documents.