MRAK Almanac: Juneau considers taxes, UA regents consider exigency


The MRAK Almanac is your place for political, cultural, and civic events, events where you’ll meet political leaders or, if you are interested in getting to know your state, these are great places to meet conservative- and moderate-leaning Alaskans.

Alaska Fact Book:

Question: How many boroughs are in Alaska?

Answer: As most Alaskans know, Alaska doesn’t use the typical “county system” seen in the Lower 48. Instead, most Alaskans live within one of 19 organized boroughs. In some of these boroughs (such as Fairbanks and Mat-Su), cities also have their own local governments, while in others there is only one municipal government for everyone in the borough (such as Anchorage and Sitka).

The most populated organized borough by population in Alaska is the Municipality of Anchorage which is home to about 300,000 residents. By area, the largest organized borough is the North Slope Borough with almost 90,000 square miles of land.

About 75,000 Alaskans live in the 320,000-square mile Unorganized Borough overseen by the State of Alaska.

7/22: The Alaska House of Representatives will gavel in at 10 am. House Finance is set to meet at 1 pm.

7/22: The University of Alaska Board of Regents will hold an emergency meeting in Anchorage at 9 am. The board will be reconsidering UA’s possible declaration of financial exigency as well as discussing options for restructuring the university system. The meeting will be live streamed at this link.

7/22: The Fairbanks City Council will gavel in for a regular meeting at 6:30 pm. The agenda includes consideration of additional changes to the city budget for the upcoming year as well as a period of public comment. Full agenda at this link.

7/22: Regular meeting of the Juneau Assembly, beginning at 7 pm. The assembly will be introducing an ordinance increasing the rates for water and wastewater utilities by 4% as well as a tax hike for local hotels and motels. Read the full agenda here.

7/22: Alaska Aviation Festival volunteer meeting at 7 pm at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage. Read more here.

7/22: The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will hold a regular meeting at 5:30 pm. This meeting was rescheduled from July 15. The agenda includes a resolution “urging the State of Alaska to raise the legal age for the purchase of tobacco from 19 to 21”. Read the agenda here.

7/22: The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service will hold a community meeting at 7 pm in Kenny Lake to provide updates about the ongoing Chetaslina and the Long fires burning in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Further details here.

7/22: Regular meeting of the Seward City Council at 7 pm. The agenda is not yet available, but likely will be at some point today on the city’s website here. Another note: If you are a Seward resident interested in running for local office, candidate filing will open today. Pick up a packet at City Hall.

7/22: Regular meeting of the Homer City Council beginning at 6 pm. The council will be presiding over the swearing-in of the new Homer Fire Department’s chief as well as discussing a potential letter to be sent by the council to Governor Dunleavy regarding his line-item vetoes on the FY20 operating budget. Find the agenda here.

7/22: Regular meeting of the Wasilla City Council at 6 pm. The agenda is set to include public comment on changes to the domestic animal ordinances as well as approval of several important appropriations for the upcoming year. Read the agenda here.

7/23: Regular meeting of the Anchorage Assembly, set to gavel in at 5 pm. The assembly will be considering a resolution in support of HB 79 which would provide a defined benefit retirement plan for state and local peace officers, an ordinance increasing the age for tobacco purchases to 21, as well as discussing renewal applications for local marijuana dispensaries. Read the agenda here.

7/23: Lunch on the Lawn outside the Anchorage Museum starting at 11:30 am. This weekly event features live music, local food vendors, and lots of family event. Come enjoy this unique opportunity to appreciate downtown Anchorage.

7/23: Palmer City Council regular meeting at 7 pm. There will be an opportunity for public testimony. Read the agenda here.

7/23: Regular meeting of the Wrangell Borough Assembly at 7 pm. The assembly will be considering several new ordinance changes as well as holding a period of public testimony. Read the full agenda here.

7/23: Alaska VA town hall in Wasilla at 6 pm. All veterans and their family members are invited to attend and share their questions and concerns with Alaska VA officials. Read more at this link.

7/23: Full hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, chaired by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Hearing begins at 10 am (6 am AK time) and will be live streamed at this link.

7/23: The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) will hold their regular summer meeting at 10:15 am in Juneau. Read more here.

7/23: Anchorage Glacier Pilots vs. Mat-Su Miners baseball in Wasilla at Hermon Brothers Field, first pitch is at 6 pm. This game will also serve as a fundraiser in support of the local “Big M” charity which supports families battling cancer. Further details here.

7/23: Regular meeting of the Sitka Assembly at 6 pm. The assembly will be voting on application renewals for two local marijuana cultivators as well as continuing their discussion of the ongoing search for a new city administrator following their termination of Keith Brady earlier this summer. Find the agenda here.

7/23: Regular meeting of the Bethel City Council at 6:30 pm. The council will be considering stricter alcohol ordinances aimed at reducing the disturbances caused by intoxication as well as voting on changes to their FY20 budget. Read the full agenda here.

Alaska History Archive:

July 22, 1902—117 years ago: Italian prospector Felix Pedro discovered gold in a small creek running through the Tanana Hills. With this news, E.T. Barnette’s small and struggling trading post—then only a year old— on the banks of the nearby Chena River rapidly grew with the arrival of other miners hoping to finally strike it rich. Fairbanks was born.

July 23, 1907—112 years ago: By the order of President Theodore Roosevelt, the Chugach National Forest was established. The nearly 7-million-acre forest covers much of Prince William Sound and a portion of the Kenai Peninsula and Copper River Valley. Five thousand bald eagles live in the forest, approximately equal to the entire bald eagle population of the Lower 48.