Minutes of the Regular Meeting

Denali Borough Assembly

McKinley Village Community Center

January 13, 2002


CALL TO ORDER    Presiding Officer Jerry Mueller called the regular meeting to order at 3:05 pm.


ROLL CALL               Assembly members present were: Sid Michaels, Jim Caswell, Jerry Mueller, David Talerico, Teresa Usibelli, Jim Payne, Gerald Pollock, and Mayor Gonzales.  Assembly members absent were Carol Shields and Teresa Hall.


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to excuse the absent Assembly members.  PAYNE so moved and MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


AGENDA                   MUELLER entertained a MOTION to approve the agenda as presented.  PAYNE so moved and MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


PLANNING                1.)  Discussion regarding land use classification in the Denali

COMMISSION           Borough.


                                    MUELLER said he had requested that this issue be put on the agenda.   He said he believes it is time for the Borough to begin the process of classifying lands.   MUELLER said several State agencies and individuals had approached him concerning this issue.


                                    MICHAELS asked if he was talking about zoning.   MUELLER replied yes.


                                    David Braun, Healy resident, said Alaska Statutes state the Borough must provide for land use planning.  He asked if anyone had clarified what the word “provide” would entail.  MUELLER said no one he had spoken with had asked that question. 


                                    MICHAELS reminded the Assembly that the area around the Borough Landfill was zoned industrial by the Borough Assembly.  He said that that zoning coincides with the City of Anderson’s land, which is adjacent to the Borough land.


                                    Denali Borough Land Technician Gail Pieknik, said the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) has contacted the Borough office and wants to work in conjunction with the Borough once the Borough classifies the lands adjacent to theirs. 


                                    CASWELL stated that the unrestricted designation was for the initial zoning of the entire Borough.  He said the residents could change that designation if they so desire by approaching the Assembly with their proposed changes.


                                    MICHAELS asked Pieknik to verbalize some proposed changes.  Pieknik said residential, industrial, commercial, etc.


                                    Braun said the Assembly had reconignized that there could be a conflict near the landfill, so they need to be aware that there could be these types of conflicts elsewhere in the Borough.


                                    Discussion followed and Pieknik said the next spot the ARRC is looking at is south of Healy on the East side of the Parks Highway.


                                    Mayor Gonzales reminded the Assembly that there is a resolution coming before the them that addresses working with the ARRC.   He said that resolution is important for the economic development of ARRC lands.   


                                    TALERICO said ARRC has approximately 4,000 acres in the Borough that are available for lease. 


                                    Steve Jones, McKinley Village resident, said DNR has not updated the Tanana Basin Area Plan every five years like they are suppose to.  He said the DNR would go along with any classification that the Borough puts on the lands. 


                                    MICHAELS suggested referring this matter to the Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC).  


                                    TALERICO MOVED to refer this matter to the LUPC, and ask them to come up with definitions and classifications for Borough lands.  MICHAELS seconded.


                                    Linda Paganelli, Healy resident, encouraged the Assembly to proceed with this issue, and solicit input from the residents.  She said the Borough has been chastised in the past for their minimal experience with Land Planning.  She asked if the motion was for just Borough lands.  TALERICO replied yes.


                                    CASWELL cautioned that we do not go overboard and try to classify all the Borough’s Entitlement of 49,000 acres.  He said some of the lands do not need to be reclassified.


                                    PAYNE called the question.  The VOTE was unanimous.


2.) A resolution denying a variance request and showing findings of fact on Lots 2A and 2B, within Village View Subdivision.


MICHAELS said the Borough code states that when the Planning Commission takes action it should be by resolution.   MICHAELS MOVED to amend the proposed resolution by changing the title to reflect that this resolution is an act of the Planning Commission, and it should be attested by the Planning Commission Chairperson.  CASWELL seconded.  MICHAELS suggested a different numbering system that Assembly resolution to differentiate the two, such as PC02-01.  The VOTE was unanimous.


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to adopt this resolution.  PAYNE so moved and MICHAELS seconded.  The roll call VOTE was unanimous.  This will be Resolution PC02-01.


MINUTES                   MICHAELS MOVED to adopt the minutes of the October 28, 2001 Special meeting.  PAYNE seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous. 


CASWELL MOVED to adopt the November 9, 2001 Canvass meeting minutes.  MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous. 


MICHAELS MOVED to approve the November 11, 2001 work session, public hearing and regular minutes.  PAYNE seconded, and the VOTE was unanimous.  


 MICHAELS MOVED to amend the December 9, 2001 work session, public hearing and regular minutes by dropping Scott Stowell’s name from the roll call in the regular meeting minutes.  PAYNE seconded.    The VOTE was unanimous.


MICHAELS MOVED to approve the above mentioned minutes.   CASWELL seconded.


USIBELLI moved to amend page 8, line 22 of the Regular meeting minutes.  USIBELLI clarified her statement.  The Clerk so noted.  POLLOCK seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


The VOTE to approve was unanimous.


FINANCIAL                The Chair entertained a MOTION to receive the October

REPORT                    2001 financial report.  MICHAELS so MOVED and PAYNE seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.                   


MAYOR’S                  Mayor Gonzales said the City of Anderson is coming alive

REPORT                    again with the Air National Guard bringing in new people.  He attended their Council Meeting and it appears like the Guard is looking for housing for their members in Anderson.   


                                    Mayor Gonzales attended the Parks Highway Electrification meeting in Fairbanks along with the Interior Delegation.  He said they are moving forward with their request.


                                    Mayor Gonzales attended the DOT meeting regarding the Railroad Crossing at Rex Bridge.   He said some of the residents near the effected are were not too happy with the proposed project.  Mayor Gonzales said he suggested that the project personnel meet with some of the residents one on one.  He said DOT is going to follow that suggestion. 


                                    The Mayor met with Senator Therriault in Fairbanks to discuss the Borough’s concerns for the upcoming session.


                                    Mayor Gonzales let the Assembly know that a citizen has obtained legal counsel regarding how the Administration is doing business.  He said the office is following the Borough Ordinances and the Office Policy.  He said this issue is in the hands of the Borough Attorney.  He said he welcomes the proposed agenda that addresses public records than will be discussed later in the meeting. 


                                    MICHAELS asked the Mayor for an update on the State Reapportionment lawsuit.  Mayor Gonzales said he had testified as well as the Mat-Su Borough Manager, and the Mayor of Delta. 


                                    Paganelli asked the Mayor, via the Presiding Officer, what was happening with the Northern Access EIS.  Mayor Gonzales said nothing is happening right now, but the Legislature will be asking DOT why they are stalling the project.


SCHOOL DIST.         Denali Borough School District Superintendent Chris Hagar

SUPT. REPORT       gave a verbal report based on his written report. 


                                    Hagar said the firm chosen to handle the Tri-Valley Upgrade would be coming up here in March if any Assembly members want to meet with them. 


                                    Based on the report, CASWELL said he is thankful for what the school has done for the community, but the Cantwell residents want to be able to get online when they want to not just when it’s allowable.


                                    Hagar said MTA has expressed an interest in providing the Internet service.


                                    Mayor Gonzales stated that last fall he met with MTA to discuss the lack of Internet access in Cantwell, and he was assured they would address the issue within six months.  He said he would contact MTA for a progress report.  Hagar said he would be happy to approach MTA with the Mayor.


ASSEMBLY               PAYNE said he had also heard DOT was going to meet one on

COMMENTS             one with residents concerning the railroad crossing near Rex Bridge.  He also said the Air Guard has formed a committee to select qualified individuals to fill the jobs they have posted.

                                    CASWELL stated that in times past the Denali Borough was criticized for the minimalism of our Comprehensive Land Use Plan.  That criticism came from Local Boundary Commission member Kevin Waring.  Mr. Waring had previously applied to be the company that put together the Plan, but was not selected.  CASWELL said he smells sour grapes on that one!


                                    USIBELLI stated that it seems like over the last few months some members of the public feel they are having problems getting access to public records.  She suggesting putting together an Ethics Committee so the public can feel they are getting some sort of satisfaction when they have a complaint. 


                                    Mayor Gonzales stated that we do have a process if the people do not feel their request has been satisfied.  He said first they come to the Staff, then the Mayor, Assembly, and last is the  court system.  He said the Ethics committee may be a good idea, but these people still must follow the correct process to lodge a complaint.


                                    Discussion followed regarding this committee, and how it would deal with complaints from residents.


                                    David Braun said he had taken the appropriate course of action regarding his complaint.  He thanked MUELLER for responding to his email request.  He said the proposed ordinance is not what he asked for, and the office policy can be changed by resolution.  He said the Assembly voted in December five to two that the public does have a right to impact the minutes and correct what they believe are misquotes, or add or amend the minutes.  Braun said the ordinance would have to go through four meetings before it can be voted on and it can be voted down too.  Braun said the Mayor made many allegations against people in December about threats and harassment of the office staff.  He said he had put in a request for a resolution and asked that the assembly suspend the rules and add his or a similar resolution to the agenda this meeting so that he may have timely access to the November and December meeting tapes.he said there was a similar situation in Fairbanks and the lawsuit was won quite easily.   


                                    MUELLER said an Assembly member would have to move to suspend the rules.  Braun rephrased his request.


COMMUNICATION   MUELLER read a communication from Healy resident Neal

Laugman regarding his new website. 


MICHAELS asked if there is a disclaimer on the site that says the site is not an official Denali Borough site.  MUELLER said it is Laugman’s personal site, and he does not claim to represent the Borough.


RECESS                   MUELLER called for a recess at 4:00 p.m.


RECONVENE           MUELLER called the meeting back to order at 4:15 p.m.


ORDINANCES          1.) Ordinance 01-10, version B, an ordinance amending Denali Borough Charter, Article XI, Section 11.01, regarding a sales tax.


MICHAELS MOVED to postpone Ordinances 01-10, 01-13, 01-14 until the July 2002 meeting, and PAYNE seconded.


The VOTE was unanimous.


2.)  Ordinance 01-07, Version A, an ordinance adding Chapter 22, pertaining to business licenses.


CASWELL stated that he would like to see a draft of an application before he votes on this issue.


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to postpone this ordinance until the next meeting when the Administration will be forthcoming with a draft application.  MICHAELS so moved, PAYNE seconded.   The VOTE was unanimous.


Mayor Gonzales said it might be the March meeting before the draft is ready.


3.) An ordinance amending the Denali Borough Enabling Code, Title 1, Chapter 4, Public Records.  (Next ordinance 02-01)


MUELLER handed the meeting over to CASWELL because he wanted to address this ordinance.


MUELLER MOVED to introduce, and MICHAELS seconded.


MUELLER stated that this is a guideline for the office to follow.  He reminded the Assembly that they are the legislative body and makes the laws and the Administration is the one that enforces the laws.


Discussion followed concerning that this ordinance, like other ordinances can be adopted in two meetings.


David Braun said he would like this cleared up today by resolution.  He asked why MUELLER did not put forth a resolution.


CASWELL said that Braun’s comments are not within the narrow scope of the question at hand. 


USIBELLI stated that typically the Assembly takes an ordinance to all four communities.  She asked why we are fast tracking this ordinance.  CASWELL said this is an internal housekeeping ordinance than one that needs to go to all four communities.


The roll call VOTE was unanimous.  This will be Ordinance 02-01.


MUELLER MOVED to postpone any action on this ordinance until the next meeting, and MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


RESOLUTIONS        1.)  A resolution supporting legislation, authorizing the Alaska Railroad to lease land for 35 years.  (Next resolution 02-01)


Mayor Gonzales stated that the Alaska Railroad has a lot of land for lease in the Denali Borough, and those people have requested a longer lease to better be able to finance the leased land.  He said he had spoken with Charlie Boddy  and Usibelli coal mine is in favor of this resolution.


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to adopt, MICHAELS so moved and PAYNE seconded.  The roll call VOTE was unanimous.  This will be Resolution 02-01.


OTHER                       1.)  Draft proposed mail out regarding the Special Election.

BUSINESS                MICHAELS stated that he did a little trial run of this as

presented and he came up with a draft with a few changes to make it easier for the average person to understand.


MICHAELS MOVED to amend by substitution, PAYNE seconded.


USIBELLI asked if it would take the place of the election posting. 


POLLOCK said he would like a statement in the mail out that says the boundary has changed. 


Discussion followed, and POLLOCK MOVED to add, “please note boundary change” on the bottom of the 3rd and 6th paragraphs.  USIBELLI seconded.


Paganelli asked if the mail out would contain the variance percentage.  MICHAELS said it’s very hard to put six months worth of work onto a one-page document.  Paganelli asked if we were concerned with the variance percentage on the school board reapportionment ordinance. MUELLER said the Borough School District is not required by Federal Law to meet a variance percentage.  He also said the School Board is not required to reapportion themselves.  Paganelli said she thinks the variance percentage should be on the mail out. 


Dave Braun said he would like to make a clarification that the School Board never passed a resolution in support of the exact boundaries shown on the ordinance.  They wanted to use the attendance lines, but left that decision open to be decided by Mr. Hagar, a school board member, and the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Assembly.  Hagar said it was an effort to take into account all the people in that area that attend the Tri-Valley School.  Braun said there is a question if that takes in the whole attendance area.


The VOTE on the amendment was unanimous.


CASWELL stated that we do not want a Palm Beach situation here, and he believes 85% of the people do not know what this is about.  He would like to change the mail out so the assembly matters are together, and the school board matters are together.  The Clerk said in accordance with Borough ordinances the special election posting, which numbers the propositions, has already gone out. 


CASWELL MOVED to amend the mail out to change the order the proposition are on the page for clarification purposes.  PAYNE seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


Discussion followed as to what would happen if all or none of the voters approve none of the propositions.  MICHAELS said he would like a legal opinion on this issue.  Mayor Gonzales said he would mention the concern to the Attorney.


MICHAELS MOVED to approve the mail out.  TALERICO seconded. The VOTE was unanimous.


The VOTE to amend by substitution, using MICHAELS version of the mail out, was unanimous.


AUDIT             2.)  Motion to accept the Borough Fiscal Year 2001 Audit.


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to accept the fiscal year 2001 audit.  MICHAELS so moved and PAYNE seconded. The VOTE was unanimous.


3.) Liquor licenses renewal request for Denali Grizzly Bear – Package store.


CASWELL MOVED to take no action, PAYNE seconded.  MUELLER asked the Clerk if there were any comments made to the office.  The Clerk said no.  The VOTE was unanimous.


4.) Training session discussion.


CASWELL MOVED to have DCED Local Government Specialist, Irene Catalone teach the elected officials training.   MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


After minimal discussion, the date was set as March 24th, in Healy, at 1:00 p.m.


PUBLIC                      Hagar asked when the election would be canvassed.  The

COMMENTS             Clerk said that issue would be on the next agenda.


                                    Dave Braun said he feels he has to address the Mayor’s comments that were made during the last meeting.  In this very room last May the Mayor said that DNR was in favor of the HB 244, and he said the Borough would be forced to do an EIS.  He said if there is some political gain to be made, then the Mayor doesn’t hesitate to say things that are untrue.  He said he would like to ask the Clerks if they have in fact been threatened or harassed.


MUELLER said the question is out of order.


MUELLER said consequently, the Assembly has been forced into tightening things up.  He said things use to be a lot more casual procedure wise to allow for maximum public input, and now its time to tighten things up!


ASSEMBLY               TALERICO said he had some suggestions for better recording

COMMENTS             equipment.  The Clerk requested that he provide that information to the office.


                                    CASWELL said he has known Mayor Gonzales for along time and he has always known him to be an honest and forthright individual.  He said he does not share Braun’s sentiments in any way!      


NEXT MEETING       The next Assembly meeting will be held on February 10, 2002 at the Cantwell School.


ADJOURNMENT      MUELLER declared the regular meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm.



ATTEST:  _________________________          APPROVED:  __________________



Date Approved:  ____________________