City and Borough of Sitka

Press Releases and Public Service Announcements

 

Local Emergency Planning Committee Meeting

08/12/2020

The Local Emergency Planning Committee will meet Thursday, August 13, 2020 at noon in Harrigan Centennial Hall, 300 Harbor Drive, Sitka, AK for its regular monthly meeting. On the agenda are: Committee Reports (if any) and the City Administrator will provide an update on the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  Regular meetings are held monthly on the second Thursday of each month at noon.  Meetings are open to the public. 

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state health mandates encouraging residents to practice social distancing, and limit group gatherings, individuals that would like to participate by teleconference can contact melissa.henshaw@cityofsitka.org  or scribeinkservices@gmail.com by 10:00 a.m. the day of the meeting to obtain information to join the meeting.  

 

 

Historic Preservation Commission Meeting

08/07/2020

The Sitka Historic Preservation Commission will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The Commission will discuss the Historic Preservation Plan, and review a demolition at 106 Kelly Street. Public comment is welcome. Commission meetings are open to the public; teleconference options for the meeting can be found at: https://www.cityofsitka.com/government/departments/planning/index.html

 

 

Health Needs and Human Services Commission Meeting

08/07/2020

The Health Needs and Human Services Commission will meet on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Drive. Agenda items include: Food waste, food security, and composting, Address substance misuse especially regarding drinking in youth; Support creation of a collective impact board; and Public Policy (Three-foot bike clearance). The meeting is open to the public.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state health mandates encouraging residents to practice social distancing, and limit group gatherings, individuals that would like to participate by teleconference or videoconference can contact melissa.henshaw@cityofsitka.org or call 747-1826 by 11:30 a.m. the day of the meeting to obtain information to join the meeting.

 

 

Upcoming 2020 Municipal Election Information

07/24/2020

The Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 6.  To be eligible to vote in the Municipal Election, you must be a registered voter.  The last day to register in order to qualify to vote in the Municipal Election is September 6.  To register to vote, or update your registration record, visit https://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/voterregistration.php. Applications are also available at the Municipal Clerk’s Office in City Hall at 100 Lincoln Street.

 

Sitka voters may choose to vote using any of these available options:

  • Absentee Voting by Mail: Voters may submit an application to receive a ballot by mail. Ballots will be mailed mid-September and must be returned to the Municipal Clerk’s Office before 8:00 p.m. on October 6 or be postmarked by October 6.
  • Advanced Voting In-Person: Voters may vote an early in-person ballot September 21 – October 5 at Harrigan Centennial Hall weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m  Enhanced protective measures, along with social distancing, will ensure safe polls for poll workers and voters. 
  • Voting by Fax: Voters may submit an application to vote by electronic transmission. Voted ballots by electronic transmission must be submitted according to the municipal clerk’s instructions and received no later than 8:00 p.m. on election day.
  • Voting by Personal Representative: Voters who are unable to vote in person due to age, serious illness or disability may have a personal representative pick up a ballot beginning September 21. Contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office for more information.
  • Election Day In-Person: Voters may vote in-person on Election Day at their respective precinct in Harrigan Centennial Hall. Polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Enhanced protective measures, along with social distancing, will ensure safe polls for poll workers and voters.

For information concerning the October 6 Municipal Election, contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 747-1811 or 747-1826.

 

 

City and Borough of Sitka – Seeking Local Entity to Administer Sitka CARES Act Transitional Employment Program

07/30/2020 

The City and Borough of Sitka is looking for interested local entities to administer a Sitka CARES Act Transitional Employment Program intended to maintain and improve local recreational infrastructure.  $300,000 in grant funding is available for the Conservation & Recreation Corps program. 

 

Intent. The Conservation & Recreation Corps program has multiple purposes, including the following: to provide an employment training program for furloughed, unemployed, and underemployed residents of Sitka; to prevent eviction and homelessness; and to maintain, improve and create recreational infrastructure for Sitka residents and visitors. The recipients of Program funds must develop a work plan consistent with this intent.

 

Applicant Eligibility. This opportunity is open to nonprofits with 501(c)3 status and tribal entities with their primary offices in Sitka.  Interested organizations must demonstrate their capability to manage federal funding and comply with all applicable requirements, including but not limited to audit requirements, through either a subrecipient agreement or contract with the City and Borough of Sitka.

 

Employment Eligibility and Compensation. Only residents of Sitka who are furloughed, unemployed, or underemployed due to COVID-19 at time of application are eligible for new positions created under this program. Crewmembers and crew leaders must be compensated at least at minimum wage and consistent with the personnel rules of the employing entity. 

 

Eligible Uses of Funds. Program funds may be used for eligible payroll costs, program insurance, and to purchase necessary job training materials and supplies, including but not limited to the following: personal protective equipment, tools, equipment rental (i.e. vehicles, heavy equipment, helicopter), consumables like fuel, materials such as gravel, and transportation of materials. Program funds may not be used for the purchase of infrastructure fabricated outside Sitka, such as cabin kits and pre-manufactured bridges, or heavy equipment traditionally associated with a capital improvement project.

 

Public Property. The project locations must be on publicly owned property (United States, State of Alaska, or City & Borough of Sitka).

 

Eligible Projects. The following are examples of eligible labor-intensive projects that would be within the intent of the program (list is not all-inclusive):

(1) Continuing trail improvements to CBS-owned trails

(2) Trail expansion projects

(3) Mountain bike trails

(4) Playground improvements (painting, skate park, lower Moller, etc.)

(5) Placement of one or more shelters on CBS remote lands

(6) Building maintenance needs (school buildings included)

 

Questions may be submitted in writing to grantsadmin@cityofsitka.org through 5pm on August 7, 2020; CBS will post any updates related to questions on its website. Proposed work plans and organizational qualifications may be submitted to grantsadmin@cityofsitka.org until 5pm on August 14, 2020.  

 

The City will evaluation applications on the following bases:

  • Description of project
  • Proposed number of employees
  • Proposed wages
  • Recreational and economic impact to Sitka
  • Previous experience administering federally funded projects
  • Ability to complete a single audit

The City anticipates selecting a single entity for this program to negotiate an agreement by August 14, 2020.  Notice to proceed is anticipated by September 8, 2020, with all work required to be completed and funds expended by December 31, 2020. The City reserves the right to extend the deadline for completion of work and expenditure of funds in the event that Congress extends the deadline for expenditure of CARES Act funds. 

 

 

Assembly Resolution 2020-26 Encouraging Face Coverings In Public Places

07/29/2020

At their meeting of July 28, the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly approved Resolution 2020-26 encouraging the people in the City and Borough of Sitka to wear masks or cloth face coverings in public places. This resolution is effective immediately and shall remain in effect through September 8, 2020, or until earlier terminated by the Assembly. Click here for a copy of the Resolution.

 

 

Face Masks or Face Coverings in CBS Facilities

07/28/2020

Due to the increase in COVID-19 case counts internationally and in Alaska, effective immediately, all employees, contractors, and visitors to City and Borough of Sitka facilities must wear a face mask or face covering if social distancing of at least six feet or more between individuals cannot be maintained. This applies to entryways, hallways, stairwells, elevators, and personal offices where a six-foot distance cannot be exercised.

 

While City buildings are open, we strongly encourage you to contact us by phone or email as we can provide most services remotely.  Call 747-1818 and select the department you wish to speak with. Or, visit http://www.cityofsitka.com/government/departments/index.html for a list of departments and contact information.

 

Although wearing a face covering is a tool to assist with minimizing the spread of COVID-19, it is no substitute for proper handwashing, hygiene, and practicing social distancing of at least six feet between you and others.  While our actions may not eliminate the virus, these actions will help reduce the spread of the virus to others.  Your actions matter.  Let's all work together to keep Sitkans healthy and our community strong.

 

 

FY21 CBS Non-Profit Grant Applications Available

07/16/2020

Grant applications for non-profit organizations to apply for annual funding from the City and Borough of Sitka General Fund for FY21 are now available. Click here for the application or obtain a paper copy from the Municipal Administrator’s office (City Hall at 100 Lincoln Street). $50,000 is available for disbursement. Due to concerns related to COVID-19 applications are to be emailed to the renee.wheat@cityofsitka.org no later than 5:00pm Friday, August 21, 2020. Applications received after the time fixed for receipt will not be considered. Applications will be awarded at a special meeting of the Assembly in September. For information, contact Administrative Coordinator, Renee Wheat at renee.wheat@cityofsitka.org or call 747-1808.

 

 

Voter Registration Reminder for Municipal Election

07/13/2020

The Municipal Election is October 6, 2020. To be eligible to vote you must be a registered Voter. The last day to register in order to qualify to vote in the Municipal Election is September 6. To register to vote, or update your voter registration record, please visit: https://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/voterregistration.php. For more information contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 747-1811 or 747-1826. Division of Elections Region I Office contact information is 1-866-948-8683 or http://www.elections.alaska.gov.

 

 

Crescent Harbor Rebuild Project Update

07/08/2020

The Harbor Department and Public Works are continuing to work with our Crescent Harbor Float Replacement contractor to complete the electrical work. The electrical subcontractor, Alaska Electric, discontinued work in mid-June waiting for further materials. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down fabrication of the electrical power heads and substations needed to provide power to our harbor users. On July 6, Alaska Electric returned to the site to install 7 pallets of equipment that were shipped to Sitka in late June. The next phase of materials are scheduled for manufacturing the week of July 6 and will be shipped to Sitka when they are complete. Power is expected to be available by late July or early August. Thank for your continued patience.  

 

Please contact the Sitka Harbor Department at 747-3439 with any questions.

 

 

Utility Rate Reminder

07/02/2020

REMINDER:  Summer rates for electricity consumption go into effect July 1st. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lower winter rates were extended for all bills issued through June 30th.  For all billings beginning July 1st residential and general service-small rates are $.1918 per kWh through October 31, 2020, after which the winter rate of $.1204 will go into effect.

 

 

Property Tax Billing Update

07/02/2020

Due to the COVID-19 related extension of the appeal period for property tax valuations, the 2020 property tax bills will not be issued in early July as they usually are.  They will likely be issued late July to mid-August 2020. Taxpayers will have 60 days from the day that bills are issued to remit payment.  Please contact the Tax Office with any questions at 747-1853.

 

 

Summer Electrical Billing Correction

06/10/2020

Please note that due to an error in the utility billing system, the summer seasonal electrical rate was billed for this week’s billing cycle. As the billing system does not allow a corrected bill to be generated, we will be issuing the original bill along with a transaction history report showing that a credit has been issued and the correct total bill amount for this billing cycle.  For anyone on autopay, a credit will be issued to your account and will be reflected with your next billing cycle.

 

Please call 747-1818 with any questions or to have the credited amount reflected prior to the next billing cycle.

 

 

Airport Parking Lot Drop Off and Pick-Up

06/05/2020

The City & Borough of Sitka are requesting the public to use the airport parking lot for passenger drop off and pick-up only. Your cooperation helps in the effort to meet the requirements of Health Mandate 10.1.

 

 

Sales Tax Reminder

05/26/2020

Reminder to all businesses - the Sales Tax rate has increased to 6% effective Wednesday, April 1st and will continue through September 30th for all sales, services, and short-term rentals, unless otherwise exempted. The sales tax rate remains at 5% for long term rental of real property such as trailer space rent. The Transient Room Tax rate remains at 6% year-round.  

 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Sales Tax Office at (907) 747-1840.

 

 

2020 Census Is Quick and Easy

04/02/2020

Remember that Sitka Counts! Please remind your friends and family to complete the 2020 Census. Responding to the Census guarantees Sitka will receive funding for public health, hospitals, emergency response, public safety, and economic development through 2030. Small actions today make a big difference for our future. Respond online at www.2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020 (Spanish: 1-844-468-2020 or Tagalog: 1-844-478-2020).

 

 

Unified Command Recommends Cloth Face Coverings - News Release
04/07/2020
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the City and Borough of Sitka (CBS), Sitka Fire Department, Sitka School District (SSD), and public health officials continue to meet regularly to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Sitka.

The group discussed the recommendation for all Alaskans to use cloth face coverings, specifically in public settings. Masking may reduce the release of respiratory droplets into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including people who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms. Sitkans should ensure the face covering covers both the nose and mouth, and should avoid touching the front of the face covering (because it may be contaminated). Do not remove the face covering until returning home, and when removing, best practice is to grasp the ear loops, ties, or bands and immediately discard or place in a designated container for laundering. Wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Volunteers have been busy sewing masks, and there are stocks available in Sitka. If you need a mask, contact the Sitka EOC at pio@cityofsitka.org or at 747-1899.

The Command group urges residents to adhere to all local, state and federal mandates regarding travel, staying at home as much as possible and on the limited occasions when leaving home, to practice physical distancing of 6 feet from others. Continue to practice good hygiene – wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, remain at home when sick, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of the flu – fever, aching, cough, and shortness of breath. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus, don’t panic, as the flu or another respiratory virus is still the most likely cause. Contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you choose to visit an emergency department, call ahead to alert staff of your coronavirus concerns and request a mask be brought out to you prior to entering to reduce the risk of exposure. For health questions or COVID concerns, please call the COVID hotline at 966.8799 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse.

Thank you for your cooperation as our community works together to stop any spread of the COVID-19 virus.

 

Tsunami/Earthquake Evacuation Plan During COVID-19 Health Mandates
04/16/2020
In the event of a tsunami or earthquake while we are complying with COVID-19 local orders and state health mandates, here are guidelines to follow:

• Head to high ground or other places you normally would take shelter – e.g. Sitka High School, Keet Gooshi Heen

• Once at high ground, stay in your car if possible

• If you must enter a building try to stay at least 6 feet away from others, don’t touch each other, wear a mask at all times, and wash your hands often and thoroughly

• If weather allows, you may be able to stay outside, however, continue to follow social distancing protocols

In the event of a tsunami or earthquake it is important to remain calm, help each other out when possible, and check with local media for updates.


CBS Temporarily Supspends Policies Regarding Utility Bills

04/03/2020

To assist our citizens in this difficult time, the City and Borough of Sitka is enacting the following temporary policies regarding utility bills.

 

•            The Municipality is suspending all disconnections for non-payment of utility charges (related to COVID-19 impacts) until further notice. This is in alignment with Alaska SB 241 (awaiting Governor’s signature).

 

•            The Municipality is waiving late fees for untimely or partial payment of utility charges (related to COVID-19 impacts) for two billing cycles beginning immediately.

 

All utility charges must eventually be paid, and these policies only apply to late fees and disconnections for non-payments that occurred ONLY after the emergency declaration and must be related to COVID-19 impacts. No past charges will be forgiven. We strongly encourage customers to pay what they are able to pay and to contact our Collections Manager at 747-1859 if they have any concerns.

 

Also, once the emergency ends, any account that becomes past due during the emergency period will be required to agree to a written repayment plan, to be completed in the Finance Department.

 

If you are a commercial business that has temporarily closed, the CBS may be able to reduce your solid waste disposal fees by arranging smaller trash receptacles.

 

If you have any questions, please call utility customer service at 747-1818.

 

 

Message to Incoming Travelers through the Harbor System

03/30/2020 

The City and Borough of Sitka Harbor Department would like to remind all incoming travelers to Sitka through the Harbor System to follow all State of Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandates. Please pay special attention to the mandatory quarantine and social distancing. Click here for access to all health mandates.

 

For further information, contact the Harbor Department at 747-3439.

 

 

EPA Encourages Americans to Only Flush Toilet Paper

03/30/2020

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper, not disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items that should be disposed of in the trash. Flushing only toilet paper helps ensure that the toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage our nation’s wastewater. While EPA encourages disinfecting your environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19, never flush disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items. These easy steps will keep surfaces disinfected and wastewater management systems working for all Americans.

 

Preventable toilet and sewer backups can pose a threat to human health and present an extra challenge to our water utilities and their workforce. Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly. EPA thanks wastewater utilities and their workforce for their courageous efforts at a time when resources may be stretched thin. Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks. Our nation’s wastewater employees are everyday heroes who are on the front line of protecting human health and the environment every single day.

 

For the latest information from EPA about COVID-19 and water, see: www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

 

 

SFD Search and Rescue Update

03/27/2020

During this time of social distancing, it is natural to think of heading outdoors for some healthy isolation. However, we want everyone to understand the impact the current situation has on our ability to carry out search and rescue operations.

 

Our ability to mount an effective SAR response has already been impacted in a number of ways. We have members in higher-risk demographics who can only contribute from their homes. Some of our members volunteer in the EMS division or work in healthcare-related jobs, which may take priority over SAR operations at this time. Our field team members will need to minimize interactions at the fire hall, and minimize interactions with each other and the public throughout a response. Because of this, we will be slower to reach lost or injured individuals. Our direct contact with lost or injured people will also put us all at risk of transmitting the virus, regardless of whether anyone is showing symptoms.

 

Please keep this in mind when planning your outdoor activities until the critical period of this public health crisis has passed. Please consider lower-risk activities so your chances of injury are minimized, and please consider sticking to areas you know well so your chances of becoming lost are kept to a minimum as well. Similar messages are being shared by search and rescue organizations around the US.

 

If you are heading out, please leave a clear trip plan with someone in town. If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Sitka Fire Department at 747-3233.

 

 

COVID-19 Information Center

03/19/2020

The City and Borough of Sitka is working closely with local, state, and federal partners to respond to the rapidly-evolving outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory illness.

 

The City and Borough of Sitka has created a webpage with detailed information on  COVID-19 and the effects on our community.  To access, visit www.cityofsitka.com and click “City of Sitka COVID-19 Information Center” on the home page.

 

A Public Information Officer line has been created and is monitored weekdays from 8am to 5pm.  That number is 747-1899.  Emails may also be sent to pio@cityofsitka.org.

 

 

Harbor Fee Reminder

03/11/2020 

The Harbor Department would like to remind everyone, starting March 15th fees will be implemented after 24 consecutive hours of use.

 

At the Fishermen’s Work Float and Eliason Harbor Drive Download Zone (reservations required for the drive down).

 

Please contact the Harbor Department at 747-3439 for additional information.