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Government

Local government news from the KUCB Newsroom.

City of Unalaska

Gov. Bill Walker has appointed Shirley Marquardt as the state’s new director of boards and commissions.

The former Unalaska mayor is moving to Anchorage to start her full-time job next month.

In her new role, Marquardt will vet candidates for the hundreds of appointments the governor makes each year -- from the Board of Fisheries to the Alaska Humanities Forum to the Marijuana Control Board.

Walker spoke highly of Marquardt when he visited the island in October.

Annie Ropeik

After nearly 10 years, Unalaska has taken one of the final steps in making the Unalaska Marine Center a reality -- finding financing for the $44 million dock renovation.

Mayor Frank Kelty pushed the project forward at Tuesday's City Council meeting, after councilors split over whether to partner with the Alaska Bond Bank Authority.

Kelty broke the tie and voted to authorize the sale of city bonds worth $35 million, which will be shopped to investors for startup cash.

Sammy Hancock via Flickr Creative Commons

Unalaskans could soon pay double the sales tax when buying alcohol and tobacco -- if voters approve the hike at the next municipal election.

The City Council added the measure to the October ballot at a meeting Tuesday night, when councilors unanimously agreed to send the issue before voters.

 

Senator Lisa Murkowski wants to bolster the nation’s volcano monitoring system. The bill Murkowski is sponsoring, introduced Monday, would modernize existing monitoring networks and create a 24-7 volcano watch office to keep an eye on active volcanoes across the country. Plus, it would create a connected system — the National Volcano Early Warning System — where information from the nation’s five volcano observatories would live.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

City officials are ready to draft Unalaska’s budget for fiscal year 2018. But after a veto by Mayor Frank Kelty at Tuesday's City Council meeting, they’re going to have to wait.

Kelty hit pause on budget planning when he struck down a resolution that prioritized adding staff at the Department of Public Safety over hiring a full-time building inspector.

The dispute comes down limited funds. The city has proposed adding three positions at Public Safety, but officials have also called for an inspector and a grant writer. Unalaska can’t afford it all.

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