Emergency funding approved
The Valdez City Council approved $20,000 in emergency funding to the Local Transportation Assistance Program after it ran short of funds before the beginning of its next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Over a dozen supporters of the program attended Monday night’s council meeting.
“I am on a fixed income and I am disabled and this program has been a God-send,” Paul Sanders, a program participant testified.
The program charges clients $2 for a voucher to use for cab rides to jobs, medical appointments and other transportation needs. Clients must meet income, age or disability requirements to qualify for the program, which then pays the cab drivers the balance of fixed costs for cab rides.
The initial $132,282 grant came from the Dept. of Transportation. United Way of Valdez and other smaller funding sources provided $33,030, a 20 percent match required under the state grant. Cold winter temperatures combined with unusually high snowfall combined may have contributed to the higher than expected usage of the program, which currently serves 86 active members.
City hiring for new asst. city manager
The City of Valdez is actively recruiting a new assistant city manager after Eric Phillips announced he is leaving the post to assume the directorship of the Dept. of Community and Economic Development for the Mat-Su Borough.
Phillips said he has accepted the position and will be moving from Valdez with his family next month.
Graph source: Valdez City Council agenda
This graph shows a large spike in demand for vouchers that pay for cab rides for the elderly, disabled or low income. Riders pay $2 for the vouchers and the program pays a fixed amount for the balance.
Phillips has been this route before. Last fall, Seward announced Phillips was chosen as its new city manager. However, Phillips later decided to decline Seward’s offer and remained in his current position in Valdez.
Phillips, who will be based out of Palmer, said it was a personal decision, but is looking forward to the move.
“I’m excited,” he said, “my kids are excited, my wife’s excited.”
The city is openly soliciting candidates for the assistant city manager position at $80,000 per year. Its newspaper ad states that minimum qualifications are a Bachelor’s degree in public or business administration or closely related field. Four years of progressively responsible management experience, including supervision, budgeting, human resources, municipal operations or finance, and public relations among other qualifications.