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Government

Local government news from the KUCB Newsroom.

 

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.

Courtesy of Roger Blakeley

Unalaska has a new Director of Parks, Culture, and Recreation (PCR).

Roger Blakeley took on the top job in early January, and now he oversees the city’s community center, aquatics center, and library.

Originally from Utah, Blakeley began his career as a park ranger in Eugene, Oregon. He patrolled the Willamette River Greenway in a jet boat, exploring far-flung corners of the state park and fishing along the way.

Courtesy of Rachelle Hatfield

Rachelle Hatfield is the newest member of the Unalaska City Council.

She was appointed last month, beating out four other applicants for the seat vacated by Mayor Frank Kelty.

Originally from Hawaii, Hatfield moved to the island in 2010, following her sister, Deputy City Clerk Roxanna Winters.

KUCB's Laura Kraegel asked Hatfield about her priorities as she assumes her first term in public office.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Staffing at Unalaska’s Department of Public Safety was the focus of Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

City Manager Dave Martinson says there simply aren’t enough police officers to cover the workload. In the last year, he says the department has denied 20 leave requests because of insufficient staffing.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have enough hours of coverage to afford people to do what they need to do to stay fresh,” Martinson said.

The department needs 11 officers. But right now, there are only six.

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