WRANGELL — The council voted 5-0 to approve a resolution that would begin the process of moving the Thomas Bay Power Authority-run Tyee Lake facility over to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
The resolution reflects a draft resolution approved at the Dec. 3 special assembly meeting, and keeps most of the terms of that resolution intact. TBPA employees would be “kept whole” in terms of wages, benefits, and positions during the conversion process. SEAPA would absorb the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) unfunded liability. Wrangell and Petersburg would contribute the lesser of either the ARECA Insurance Rebate of about $259,798 or the PERS liability.
Wrangell, Ketchikan and Petersburg would review the Power Sales agreement at a set date, and the non-net billable costs paid by Wrangell since July 1 to the date of the final conversion would be shared among the parties.
Negotiations over the future plans, led by Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch, will begin in the next few weeks, pending approval by the SEAPA board of directors and the Petersburg Borough. The resolution also includes a provision asking the SEAPA board to retain recordings of its meetings for two years.
The resolution sets a Jan. 31, 2014 deadline for the presentation of the plan to the board.
The vote was held without debate, apart from a brief remark by assembly member Daniel Blake.
“I just want to say thank you to the city manager and the people who worked on getting this thing together so quickly,” he said. “Yesterday I kept trying to think of ways to improve it and as I read down, the items I thought of were in there already.”
The vote resolves in the short term questions over the future of TBPA and the TBPA commission and the course of action the borough will take. The issue has been the subject of sometimes contentious debate since a vote by the Petersburg borough assembly to withhold their portion of the $110,000 non-net billable cost in July. Wrangell has since paid the entire portion of those costs.
In other business, the assembly voted 5-0 without debate an ordinance change to allow institutions selling alcohol to remain open on election days. The change also standardizes the hours of operation for taverns and liquor stores throughout the year. Bar owners had said the changes made sense since polling places in the city and borough were no longer held in places that sold alcohol.
The assembly voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance change which would allow the city harbormaster to impound abandoned or derelict vessels left in the marine services yard longer than 24 months.
The assembly added Christie Jamieson as the second of two voting board members to the SEAPA board. Current board member Brian Ashton was re-appointed to the board. Wrangell Light & Power superintendent Clay Hammer retained his spot as an alternate member, and the assembly also added Doug McConachie, Sr. as an alternate member. Wrangell has two voting seats on the SEAPA board as part of the board’s rotating structure.
The assembly also unanimously approved an alley vacation recommended by the Planning & Zoning commission.