Council to Take Final Vote on Museum Funding

Thursday, November 08 2012

At tonight’s meeting, city council will take a final vote on a controversial funding package.

If approved, public safety will get $14,000 for their emergency planning program, and the city will have $32,000 to spend on new power transformers. But more than half of the $125,000 in the budget package would go to the Museum of the Aleutians.

The museum needs $75,000 to help fill a big gap in their construction budget, for a new permanent exhibit. They’ve been working on that design for eight years. And they’ve reached out to the city for extra funding, outside the normal nonprofit cycle.

Council voted to separate the museum grant from the rest of the package at their last meeting, but that measure failed. Tonight is the last chance for the public to weigh in on the whole budget amendment. Council will take public comments at the beginning of the meeting before they vote. The city attorney has advised that Zoya Johnson, a city councilor and the museum director, has no conflict of interest on the grant. She’ll participate in tonight’s vote.

Council will return to another hot-button issue in work-session tonight: revisions to the sales tax code. The new code would require businesses to turn in the tax they collect more often. In the process, the city would cut down on discounts for business owners who voluntarily turn in taxes early. Some councilors had concerns with that plan at the last meeting. City clerk Elizabeth Masoni will present more tax options tonight, and ask council for input.

Council will also hear updates from fisheries analyst Frank Kelty and from the library’s advisory committee. And harbormaster John Days will be recognized, as he celebrates 20 years of working for the city of Unalaska.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

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