November 6, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 45

News Briefs

New harbor plans revising

Rendering courtesy Army Corp of Engineers
This 2010 conceptual rendering of the future new boat harbor for Port Valdez is up for revision after an attempt by city officials to begin negotiations with TAPS owners to buy-up a small portion of land it owns for the SERVS dock on the spit did not bear fruit. The new plans call for moving the new harbor east.

The new small boat harbor that city officials have been working on with the Army Corp of Engineers for over 10 years is up for revision after the city manager and mayor say they were rebuffed by TAPS owners in a quest to purchase a portion of land adjacent to the SERVS dock on the spit.

The Valdez City Council 6-1 Monday night to approve a $281,078 amendment to its contract R&M Consultants, contractors working with the city and the Army Corp, to conduct core sampling along the shores of the proposed site that are needed to facilitate moving the footprint of a new harbor east by approximately 600 feet.

It was unknown Monday whether the revised plans for the $50 million project will go up in price – and timeline – after the sampling, due to the fact that it is unknown whether or not an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) will be needed for the portion of land that was not included in the Corp's 2010 study that concluded no EIS was needed on the original plot picked for a new harbor. Hozey told the council Monday that the officials will not know if an EIS is needed until the new sampling is complete.

He also told council that city administrators expect preliminary data for the new report will begin to become available in the coming weeks, but the new report will not be complete for some time.

Only council member Dennis Fleming, a SERVS employee, voted against the change order.

Co-op to send checks

Landline telephone customers of Copper Valley Telecom will indeed be getting a check in the mail. The communications cooperative, formerly known as Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative, announced Monday that its board of directors approved the retirement of capital credits worth $1,570,150. The amounts co-op members receive will equal 75 percent of 1990, 30 percent of 1991 and 10 percent of the allocations for members purchasing CVTC services in 2012.

Members must have been receiving CVTC services during the years the credits are retired from to qualify for a capital credit check according to the cooperative.

A cooperative is obligated to pay the credits (all such amounts in excess of operating costs and expenses) to a capital account for each member the company said Monday. On a regular basis, the board reviews the financial stability of CVTC, ultimately determining if they are financially able to pay out the capital credits to our members.

Public housing gets tough

(AP) State officials are trying to increase turnover in public housing.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that beginning in 2014, able-bodied renters in subsidized apartments will have five years to transition out of public housing. During the first year, their rent will drop slightly, from 30 percent of their income to 28.5 percent. But after that, their rent will shift to a percentage of their unit's market value. The percentage of market value they have to pay will increase annually over the five years.

The policy shift has been in the works since 2008. State officials said the income-based system was discouraging renters from becoming self-sufficient because the more they earned at work, the more they had to pay for their apartments.

The elderly and disabled are not being pressured to work or transition out. They're getting notices on Monday that their rent is dropping from 30 percent of their income to 28.5 percent, but they'll also be responsible for paying their own utilities now.

Enroll Alaska on hold

(AP) A company established to help sign Alaskans up for health insurance under the federal health care law has suspended enrollments until problems with the online marketplace are fixed.

The chief operating officer of Enroll Alaska, Tyann Boling, says the subsidy calculations for Alaskans are not correct.

She doesn't know when the issue will be resolved but says doesn't want to sign up individuals until she's confident problems with the site are resolved.

Boling says Enroll Alaska will reach back out to the three individuals it has helped enroll through the site to make sure they have the right subsidy information.

Enroll Alaska is still talking with individuals by phone and enrolling Alaskans outside the federal marketplace that do not qualify for a subsidy to help cover their insurance plan costs.

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