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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tuesday..but dont expect tacos..

After kicking the can down the road since 2007 the assembly will take up the Tall Structures (towers etc) ordinance Tuesday sponsored by Assembly member Arvin who continues to show he has long arms from China. Changes in definitions, set backs, fees etc are up for discussion and is sure to attract the big guns from the telecommunications industry although it seems unlikely they will have much heart burn with anything this assembly will require.

While were up in the air ...Changes to the borough Noise Ordinance is under new business on this fun packed agenda. Not so long ago there were acceptable rates of decibels established to address the increasing noise in residential areas of the borough. Oh but that's right it was acceptable to ANOTHER assembly and it seems that RC airplane enthusiasts that weren't happy then with the levels established have found Assemblyman Woods eager to carry their water to have a change.  This ordinance is specific to self powered model vehicles airborne, waterborne or land borne which pretty much covers it and repeals the portion setting decibels for activities. After Googling RC airplanes on You Tube I'll leave you to get your own headache to see what the noise emitted sounds like but suffice to say its no babbling brook if you live next door. Expect the audience to have plenty of testimony about "we moved out here to get away from regulation", "my property rights" "good economics to the valley"  and well you get the drill.  I am hopeful there will be some conversation as to the impact on near by property values, wildlife and setting aside some borough land that might be appropriate for this activity.  The PC considered a similar change when it was referred to them earlier for consideration  and failed but listening to the planning commission hasn't been one of the strong suits in the last year or so.

An ordinance amending flood damage prevention standards and development permit are some other fun items under new business brought to the table by those long arms again and replacing language more on the line of "reasonably safe from flooding".  No definition of reasonably safe that I could find.

The consent agenda has assembly member Salmon throwing his first bit of business on the table by introducing a resolution to dissolve the citizens advisory committee on the new prison in Knik.  With the borough getting this new shiny object handed over to the state the advisory committee is getting handed their hat and shown the door. I guess its better than being locked inside.

Approval of a bunch late filed tax exemptions for veterans ( 14 properties) and seniors (20 properties) have a spot on the consent agenda.  While no one would argue that these are worthy programs the borough offers folks in property tax relief it would sure be a winner to all property tax payers if the assembly would take the state to task for not paying the borough back for this unfunded mandate. Now there is a resolution that would get some support! The borough and many other communities are owed millions from these programs.  But we'll save that rant for another day...

Establishing protocol is always important. There have been numerous changes in borough meeting protocol by the mayor since he was elected in October. For example adding a place on every agenda for mayoral veto's.  Changing how the consent agenda is read and accepted.  After years of starting public testimony on any subject promptly at 7pm it now falls when the assembly works their way through the agenda to it.   All changes in the name of  meeting "efficiency".  

In this weeks packet page 81-82 is a informational memorandum that addresses who takes up the gavel when the mayor is temporarily absent or disabled so that the mayor's "legislation for debate and move of the vacancy report" is accomplished.  Normally its the deputy mayor but this memorandum acknowledges that there are times that the Deputy Mayor is absent or attending via teleconference therefore the mayor has decided that there should be a back up to the back up.  So in the name of meeting "efficiency" the mayor is able to hand the gavel to a guy who is there in case the guy that normally gets the gavel isn't there.  

Okay...I am feeling more efficient already.. are you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Probably a good reminder to fasten your seat belt a bit tighter before the next Assembly Meeting Tuesday.   Although the packet is only 771 pages for this meeting it has all kinds of nuggets of endless fun.  Unfinished business about a raise in sewer rates for Talkeetna and prioritizing the federal priority list. Turns out no matter how over reaching we still want our check from Uncle Sam for roads, rail, ferry landings, ski areas, food processing centers, visitor centers, fish passage, and  Palmer Hay Flats. At least those are in the starting blocks.  Good bet there will be a bridge thrown in there too and who knows "what else" and more importantly "how" the priority will be set.  

More in the next post on new business as we wade through the packet with the highlighter.  "Lime greed" this week doncha know.  

PS Here is the link to the packet if your fresh out of halloween novels. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Assembly PC Kumbaya Meeting

The first official love fest of the new sitting MSB assembly and the borough planning commission was last night. Lots of back slapping, congratulations and glad your here got the night started.  Full horseshoe with most present plus the regular voice from afar, assembly member Arvin in what has become his normal way of attending assembly meetings via skype from somewhere in China.

First hot topic of the night was a concern a valley resident and retired state inspector raised regarding unlicensed plumbing contractors in the valley.  Seems that the lack of oversight  (no permitting etc)  that folks in the valley are getting ripped off by less than scrupulous builders and causing a big expensive problem with homeowners that have no recourse. Two members of the PC are respected borough builders and they were quick to chime in that they wholeheartedly agreed and that the borough needs to do more to protect contractors that play by the rules from those that don't.  However the suggestion of even mild regulation or oversight by the  borough brought screams of "growing government" and "starting more bureaucracy" from several members of both bodies.  Good guess it is as dead as guppies in boiling water. Sorry waitress that saved her tips for 20 years to buy a humble abode.  You'll be waiting on a few more tables if you want your toilet water not to come up in your sink.

Lets see how this works

Newsletters, facebook, blogs oh my!  Lets try this on for size for a ongoing dialog for Citizen Lobbyist.  The train leave the station too quick with too much aboard for about any other way. in progress...