At its Tuesday meeting, the Haines Borough Assembly approved the hire of Bill Mandeville as Community and Economic Development Director.

Mandeville was in town visiting Haines in order to decide whether to accept this job. He was present at the assembly meeting and talked about his experience.

“I know how to write some really good plans and I also know how to put together the financial packages to implement them,” he said.

The assembly voted unanimously to approve Mandeville’s hire, and he accepted the job offer.

The full-time community and economic development director position has a salary of $64,000. The primary responsibility is to promote business and economic development in the Haines community and region.

Mandeville will be leaving his job as a manager and planner for the state of Washington. Mandeville says he and his wife lived in Alaska in the past and they were interested in moving back, which is why he applied for this position.

He will start his new job with the borough January 29th.

A few residents from the Upper Valley and from town gave public comment about Mosquito Lake School at the assembly meeting. The school was closed last year after a drop in enrollment that disqualified it from state funding. The five people who spoke asked the borough assembly, which owns the facility, not to rush into selling it.

“You’re potentially disenfranchising some of your citizens and changing our identity,” said Zach Jacobson. “And before the planning commission meeting Thursday, I’d like to ask assembly members to think about that and talk with the planning commission members.”

The building and property is worth more than $800,000. It’s on the borough planning commission’s Thursday meeting agenda, asking for approval to classify the property for sale. Some residents have said the borough is moving too fast to try to sell the school. The school district is working now to find out if there are enough students to reopen it next year. Borough Manager Dave Sosa says he is still committed to trying to find a viable plan for the building.

“I have recommended that the planning commission make the building available for sale. Making the building available for sale doesn’t mean it will be sold,” Sosa said. “But it provides options for the borough, so that if we cannot find a viable use for the facility, then the option is there.”

The assembly also approved a list of federal priorities for 2015. The borough will lobby the federal government for funding towards the eight capital projects. Lutak Dock Facility Improvements is number one on the list, followed by Haines Harbor and the Secure Rural Schools Program.