Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

Simply Three Return to Perform at Harrigan
14 Jun 2024 14:46

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Simply Three trio promises an evening of original [ ... ]

Two Sitka Projects on Fed Funding List
14 Jun 2024 14:17

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The Assembly received a piece of good news Tuesday wi [ ... ]

Peltola Bill Gives Coast Guard Boost
14 Jun 2024 13:58

By Sentinel Staff
    The U.S. House of Representatives gave unanimous approval today to a bill sp [ ... ]

Local Trails Repaired By Citizen Volunteers
14 Jun 2024 13:04

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Volunteers turned out in force June 1 to repair damage [ ... ]

No Sign Yet Of Missing Woman
14 Jun 2024 13:03

By Sentinel Staff
    The search for a woman reported missing near Ketchikan is focused on Ward La [ ... ]

High School Sues For Lower Sports Division
14 Jun 2024 13:01

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    This March, the Monroe Catholic Rams were among the four best lar [ ... ]

Dunleavy Names New Fishery Panel Member
14 Jun 2024 12:59

By NATHANIEL HERZ
Northern Journal
    In May, the Alaska Legislature narrowly rejected a conservat [ ... ]

2 Accused of Smuggling Snowmachines to Russia
14 Jun 2024 12:55

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    Federal officials have indicted two men for allegedly attempting  [ ... ]

June 14, 2024, Police Blotter
14 Jun 2024 12:48

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 13
At 1:33 a.m. a woman  [ ... ]

June 14, 2024, Community Happenings
14 Jun 2024 12:47

Climate Connection: Electric Panels
Electrifying our lives prompts questions about whether our home e [ ... ]

No On-Site Attorney Poses City Problems
13 Jun 2024 15:09

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    After extensive recruiting efforts and no prospects i [ ... ]

Oil Spill Traced to Forgotten Boat Sinking
13 Jun 2024 15:08

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    An oil slick that appeared on the surface of the water [ ... ]

Arts Camp Veteran to Play Concert
13 Jun 2024 15:07

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Thirteen years ago Raph Shapiro spent the summer in S [ ... ]

Royalty-Free Leases Fail to Entice Bidders
13 Jun 2024 14:41

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
    A state oil and gas auction that offered royalty-free leases in t [ ... ]

June 13, 2024, Police Blotter
13 Jun 2024 14:39

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 12
An incident of drunkenness was repo [ ... ]

June 13, 2024, Community Happenings
13 Jun 2024 14:37

Soil Core May
Offer Portal to
Sitka’s Past

A soil core sample will be taken from Swan Lake Saturday [ ... ]

Assembly Postpones Visit Sitka Funding
12 Jun 2024 15:32

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Assembly members discussed possible future paths for  [ ... ]

Sitka Breaks Decades-Old High Temp Record
12 Jun 2024 15:26

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    A decades-old record for Sitka’s highest temperature [ ... ]

Woman Missing In Ketchikan
12 Jun 2024 15:25

By Sentinel Staff
    A search was under way today for a 48-year-old Ketchikan woman reported miss [ ... ]

State Supreme Court Posts a Job Opening
12 Jun 2024 15:24

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    A wave of retirements on the Alaska Supreme Court is nearing its  [ ... ]

Ranked Choice Repeal Measure Wins Ruling
12 Jun 2024 15:21

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a propose [ ... ]

Fairbanks Woman Accused Of Theft from Bingo Parlor
12 Jun 2024 15:16

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    Federal prosecutors have accused a Fairbanks woman of stealing fr [ ... ]

June 12, 2024, Community Happenings
12 Jun 2024 15:14

Elder Coffee Time
On Summer Break
Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s community elders coffee time is on summer  [ ... ]

June 12, 2024, Police Blotter
12 Jun 2024 11:40

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
June 11
At 3:25 a.m. a driver [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Assembly Approves Budget, Rate Hikes

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

The Assembly adopted budgets for the city general fund and enterprise funds, with projections for modest increases in revenue and higher rates for customers on monthly bills for water, waste water, solid waste, electricity and boat moorage in city harbors.

The vote was 6-0 on both budget ordinances, which also covered internal service funds and special revenue funds. Present were Tim Pike, Kevin Mosher, JJ Carlson, Chris Ystad, Thor Christianson and Mayor Steven Eisenbeisz.

Assembly members said they weren’t happy about the rate increases, but that they were needed because of inflation, deferred maintenance, materials cost increases, and unfunded state and federal mandates. The city cites the same reasons, plus new projects, for a general fund budget 14 percent higher than last year’s.

Chris Ystad said the increases in user fees are consistent with what he’s seeing in reviewing other budgets, including his own and in nonprofit organizations.

“I would say that these rate increases are right in line with what these other organizations are incurring,” he said. “As much as I don’t want to see rate increases, I think we have to, to stay on top of these enterprise funds.”

The rate increases are 3 percent for electricity, 6 percent for water, 8.5 percent for wastewater, 6.75 for wastewater, and 7.3 percent for moorage.

Others had similar comments.

“You don’t really think ‘raise rates, great idea!’ But inflation has been hitting everybody including the city,” Tim Pike said. “Absent other alternative funding sources I think this is what we unfortunately have to do to make our budgets work, so I agree reluctantly, but understand entirely and we certainly have spent a lot of time listening and understanding the budgets, and asking questions of staff as to why we’re at where we’re at.”

The $42.6 million general fund budget projects a $17,641 surplus at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2024. The budget projects a 3 percent increase in sales tax revenue, “which is likely conservative given the growth in tourism and continuing high inflation.” Any surplus at the end of the year in the general fund are recommended to be transferred into the sinking fund for infrastructure, but the Assembly makes that decision at the end of the year.

City Finance Director Melissa Haley said today that the budget process this year aligned services and expenditures with the new strategic plan approved by the Assembly. One example is a $750,000 item in the general fund budget for a housing study in response to a strategic plan goal to “Develop a plan to improve housing options for all in Sitka.”

The rate increases for city services will go into effect July 1.

On the same date, Sitka’s 1 percent summer sales tax will end and the sales tax will be 5 percent year round. The finance department said higher-than-expected sales tax revenues from the past year, and reimbursement payments from the state, have provided enough funds to cover remaining debt service payments on the school bonds.

In other business at Tuesday night’s meeting the Assembly:

– passed on first reading an ordinance to allow artists other than musicians to apply for permits to perform in public areas. It was intended to address youth performers who wanted to get a permit to share other artistic endeavors with tourists, and busk at Harrigan Centennial Hall. It will be up for second and final reading June 13.

– under the Persons to be Heard agenda item, heard a number of complaints from taxi drivers about the police department and the difficulties operators are having this year.

– named JJ Carlson as the Assembly representative on the Baranof Elementary School renaming committee.

– approved leases at the Marine Service Center to Seafood Producers Cooperative and North Pacific Seafoods. Each lease will be $13,000 per month, for 10 years, with two five-year extensions. The lessees must reserve 10 percent of their leased space for the public, and the leases have 2 percent increases built in.

– approved a resolution to apply for a federal Office of Justice program to purchase bulletproof vests for the police department, with a 50-50 match between the city and state.

– appointed Callie Simmons to the Sitka Library Commission.

– approved a $50,050 supplemental appropriation, which combined with the $275,000 in the current city budget, will  cover the cost of a new truck to use for ditch clearing, snow and ice management.

– approved a $10,000 supplemental appropriation from the city’s E-911 account, to install the Mud Bay radio repeaters, which will increase emergency radio communications to additional areas. Those include Katlian Bay, and the Cove Marina, Granite Creek quarry and the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal. The grant funds available were $37,000 and the equipment and work will cost $44,732, so the supplemental appropriation was needed, the Assembly was told.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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