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Local government news from the KUCB Newsroom.


  Unalaska’s City Council wants to look into expanding tax breaks to encourage renovations that create new housing. The issue was brought up at last night’s city council meeting.

Currently, the city only provides a sales tax exemption to newly constructed residential housing and that does not apply to renovated, former commercial or industrial buildings.

Chrissy Roes/KUCB

A quorum is expected for tonight’s city council meeting. At 6 p.m. the council will hear the second readings of two ordinances. One is a budget amendment to increase the 2016 fiscal year budget and the other is an amendment of the city’s fee schedule.

In a work session, they will discuss whether they want to modify the definition of “new residential housing.” If changed, the sales tax exemption given to newly constructed residential housing could apply to renovated, former commercial or industrial buildings.

Pipa Escalante/KUCB

Since December 1975, the City of Unalaska has had one constant employee.

“I may be having an identity crisis next week, but right now my name is AB Rankin. I've been the City Treasurer for the City of Unalaska for 40 years and that's all I've done since I was 26.”

And today, she retires. AB grew up in Unalaska, but when it was time for high school she had to leave the island. The U.S. government had three schools they would send Alaska Native kids to including Mount Edgecumbe in Sitka. But she did not want to go there.

Chrissy Roes/KUCB

The City of Unalaska’s newest city councilor is John Waldron. He was unanimously appointed to fill the vacant seat, left by Zoya Johnson, in a special session on Saturday afternoon.

Waldron first came to Unalaska in 1987 to work as a private contractor. In 2005, he and his family moved to Unalaska, so he could serve as a police officer. He says the decision was "easy" because of the reputation of the Unalaska City School District. Since then, two of Waldron’s three children have graduated from the high school. Now, Waldron works for the school and Aleutian Electric.

Chrissy Roes/KUCB

The council approved a more than $29 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but not until they removed a $13,000 capital grant designated for the Unalaska Divers Association or UDA.

The organization asked for funds to cover four sets of dive gear with the goal of increasing community access and participation in the pricey activity.

Without the money from city council, anyone interested in trying out scuba diving must front $6,000 dollars for their own gear.