The Skagway assembly will consider a second reading and public hearing of next year’s budget at their regular meeting on Thursday. KHNS’ Claire Stremple spoke with interim borough manager Tom Healy for this preview of the budget and other items on the assembly’s agenda.
In addition to new capital projects, Borough Manager Tom Healy says there will be some personnel additions to the municipal budget in Skagway for FY20.
“We now have a full time, paid fire chief. We’re looking at hiring seasonal, part time EMTs. I think there’s money in there for a port director,” Healy said.
“So there are some increases related to increases in personnel.”
Healy says the list of capital projects is not as extensive as usual since the municipality is anticipating significant reductions in state funding.
One of the big ticket items is a proposed reconstruction of Main Street. Voters approved a sale of $2.5 million in bonds for the project. The municipality is working to get started on that project before the voter authorization expires.
There will be a final public hearing and vote for the proposed FY20 budget on June 6th.
There are a few proposals before the assembly this week. Skagway’s ad hoc Marine Highway Committee suggests municipality hire the Mcdowell group to look at governance models for a local ferry system. That would cost about $33,000.
The municipality is will also consider hiring consultants Bermello Ajamil and Parners to help manage upcoming changes at the port like the predicted growth of the cruise ship industry and the long-standing lease with White Pass expiring in a little less than four years.
“So there’s major port issues we need to look at and plan for. And so these are consultants who are very highly recommended and have worked worldwide to assist communities with cruise impacts and benefits. So we’ll have a discussion about that and hopefully proceed with authorization and negotiate an agreement with them,” said Healy.
The consulting company would consider community input, take inventory of current assets, suggest improvements and even recommend governance approaches.
Not least, Healy’s job is up for discussion. His interim position ends on May 31st. The assembly will work on a plan to replace him. The municipality has been searching for a borough manager for nearly a year.
Borough Clerk Emily Deach and Borough Treasurer Heather Rodig jointly filled the position until the municipality hired Tom Healy as interim borough manager.
The manager job posting is open until Friday, May 17th. So far, the municipality has 12 applicants.