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Local government news from the KUCB Newsroom.

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.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

In the Unalaska City Council’s last meeting of 2016, they looked forward to March and the annual lobbying trip to Juneau.

The cost of the trip is steep, around $30,000. There’s nearly $12,000 for travel and $10,000 more set aside for a seafood reception and constituent dinner.

But the meals are a tradition. They’ve been going on for decades. 

City Manager Dave Martinson shared the city’s lobbyist’s advice.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Can Unalaska afford to build the multi-million dollar Unalaska Marine Center? And how can the city pay for it? Those questions were a focus of last night’s city council meeting.

Port manager Peggy McLaughlin says Unalaska is at a turning point.

“If we don’t do this now, what are those costs going to be to us in the future?" McLaughlin said. "If we do this now, are we truly going to be able to make ends meets? Is the port really going to be able to cover those expenses and what happens if we delay this project? What are those risks?”

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Mayor Frank Kelty was sworn in at a City Council meeting Tuesday night. 

KUCB's Laura Kraegel spoke with the new mayor of Unalaska about his top priorities as he takes office.