Minutes of the Regular Meeting

Denali Borough Assembly

Anderson School

July 14, 2002


CALL TO ORDER    Presiding Officer Jerry Mueller called the regular meeting to order at 3:10 pm.


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


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


                                    Presiding Officer of the Assembly MUELLER handed the meeting

over to the Planning Commission Chairman TALERICO.


PLANNING                1.)  Case file 02-006.  Request to vacate existing lot lines and

COMMISSION           combine deeded parcels into one lot.  Owner/Applicant:  Zarcone Bothers Real Estate LP.  Location:  U.S. Survey No. 5545, Section 34, Township 13S, Range 7W, Fairbanks Meridian, Alaska near Denali National Park entrance.


                                    MICHAELS asked Land Technician Gail Pieknik for a brief description of the request.  She said the parcel is approximately 17.84 acres, and the request is to take out the lot lines and make the parcel one lot. 


                                    MICHAELS stated that near the center of the parcel there is a driveway easement that needs to be vacated.  He suggested that be noted under “plat notes”.   He asked Gail if all the quit claim deeds were under the name of the Zarcone Brothers Partnership.  Gail said no they were not.  She said that some of the deeds are under other family members names, and those names are not listed as partners in the Zarcone Brothers Partnership.


                                    MICHAELS MOVED to approve this plat pending that the vacation of driveway be listed under the plat notes, and all of the deeds to the parcels be under the Zarcone Limited Partnership.  PAYNE seconded.


                                    Discussion followed and HALL suggested postponing this until the Assembly receives proof of the parcel ownership.


                                    MICHAELS amended the MOTION to add “preliminary” before the word approval.  HALL agreed with the amendment. 


                                    The roll call VOTE was 8-1 with HALL opposed.


                                    MUELLER resumed the regular Assembly meeting.


MINUTES                   1.)  June 9, 2002:  Work Session, Public Hearing, and Regular Meeting.


                                    MUELLER entertained a MOTION to approve the minutes.  MICHAELS so moved, and SHIELDS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


FINANCIAL                HALL MOVED to receive the May 2002 financial report, and

REPORT                    MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


MAYORS                   The Mayor said the items in his report will be covered during the

REPORT                    course of the meeting.


DBSD SUPT.            Superintendent Bob Wicker, introduced himself and gave a brief overview of his professional history.  He stated that he feels privileged to be a part of the Denali Borough School District.  He stated that he would like to keep the good relations between the District and the Assembly moving forward.


                                    Wicker said the staffing of the District for the upcoming school year is pretty much done.  He said their insurance increased from $47,358 to $127,194.  He said the school board would meet on the 16th to look at ways to fund this increase. 


                                    Wicker said he would like to meet with each Assembly member individually to discuss the District’s strengths and areas of challenges.


PERSONNEL            HALL stated that the personnel committee was unable to meet

COMMITTEE             due to lack of a quorum, and they will meet once one of their members returns.


                                    1.)  Mayor’s report regarding the North Access Reconnaissance Study.  (NARS)


                                    Mayor Gonzales said the project is moving forward.  He said the Management Team has met and decided to hire Alaska Transportation Consultants (ATC) as advisors to the Management Team.  He said ATC would be hired as part-time employees of the Borough, with no benefits.  He said they would be working on the preliminary project scope, schedule, and budget, and the preliminary scoping meetings as addressed in Phase I of the project.  He said Don Lowell, an ATC Representative, was in attendance. 


                                    MICHAELS asked how many people would be hired.


Mayor Gonzales stated that it will come out to be one person being added to the payroll, and the Borough will be reimbursed through the grant.  Mayor Gonzales stated that he is pretty comfortable with the amount of money that we will pay them and the amount of time they will spend on it.


                                    USIBELLI asked if we are keeping an internal budget on this project.


                                    Mayor Gonzales stated that we are spending our money to do the projects and after we spend the money, then we bill them.    He said the Borough has received its first reimbursement check from the DOT. 


PUBLIC                      Healy resident Gina Soltis said the general population needs to

COMMENTS             be kept informed as to what the Borough is doing, like the Northern access Reconnaissance Study.  She said the public should be brought into the fold early in the project.  She said she did not know this study was going on.


ATC Representative Don Lowell said he is very pleased with the Mayor’s Management Team.  He assured the Assembly and members of the public that the public will be involved in this project. 


ORDINANCES          1.)  Ordinance 01-10, Version B, an ordinance amending the Denali Borough Charter, Article XI, Section 11.01, regarding a sales tax.  (Introduced by Assembly member Jerry Mueller)


MUELLER entertained a MOTION to postpone any action on the ordinance until the next meeting.  MICHAELS so MOVED and HALL seconded. The VOTE was unanimous.


2.) Ordinance 01-13, Version A, an ordinance establishing a 2% general Sales tax within the Denali Borough.  (Introduced by Assembly member Teresa Hall)


HALL MOVED to amend by substitution by substituting Version A with Version B.  MICHAELS seconded.


HALL said the difference between the two is that version B states what will be taxed.  She said the only difference between this ordinance and Ordinance 01-10 is the addition of heating oil to items that will be taxed. 


HALL stated that she still believes that it is necessary to come up with more revenue.  She stated that we couldn’t wait and hope that the Borough will have enough revenue to complete their capital projects.


The roll call VOTE was unanimous.


PAYNE MOVED to postpone this ordinance until the next meeting. MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


3.) Ordinance 01-12, Version B, an ordinance adding Title III, Chapter 22A, titled Excursion Tax to the Denali Borough Code of Ordinances.  (Introduced by Assembly member Scott Stowell)


TALERICO MOVED to postpone indefinitely, CASWELL seconded.


TALERICO stated that it is quite a document, and does not want to have anything to do with it.


MICHAELS stated that a document like this would be put together if any new tax were ever voted in, but he does not think that this is the time.


The roll call VOTE was unanimous.


4.) Ordinance 01-07, Version A, an ordinance amending the Denali Borough Code of Ordinances, adding Chapter 22, pertaining to business licenses. 


TALERICO MOVED to postpone this ordinance until the next meeting.  PAYNE seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


5.) Ordinance 02-07, Version A, an ordinance amending the fiscal year 2003 budget.


HALL MOVED to change the mayor’s salary line item amount from $50,000 to $32,500.  MICHAELS seconded.


HALL stated that there has been an increase in the mayor’s duties, and apologized to her constituents for voting in favor of the increase during the last meeting.


USIBELLI read a letter from Healy resident Rick Martin who spoke against the increase in the mayor’s salary.  He asked that the Assembly table the amendment until a more thorough investigation is completed to determine if there is a need for an increase.  (See attached for complete letter)


PAYNE reminded everyone that the Borough Clerk works for the Assembly.  He said he knows our current Mayor puts in more than forty hours a week.  He said the Mayor puts in more time than most people do on their normal job.


CASWELL said he voted against the raise, but after hearing the letter USIBELLI read, he has to make a statement.  He said the Borough Formation Committee set the Mayors’ salary amount when the Borough was formed.  He said that Committee did not foresee the need at the time for a larger salary.  He said we have a very fine Mayor who works more than 20 hours a week, as dictated by the position being designated part-time. 


Healy resident Ray Gary suggested that the Assembly make the position a full-time position to justify the salary and the increase in responsibilities.


Mayor Gonzales said he knew what he was going to get paid when he became the Mayor.  He said the Mayor is going to do what he or she has to do no matter what they get paid.  He stated that whoever sits in the seat of the Mayor has to consider if they can make it on $30,000 a year.  Mayor Gonzales said he feels the letter is out of context by including the staff in with a letter speaking against the increase in the Mayor’s salary.  He said he and the Assembly decide how much the staff is worth to them, and if we want to hire someone who doesn’t know what their doing, then go ahead and see what you’re going to get out of that!  He said if you’re going to pinch pennies when it comes to the Staff, then don’t expect them to do all the things required.  He said the only reward that you can give them is monetary.  Mayor Gonzales said the statement made in that letter is totally wrong, and he is against any statement like that.  He said the Staff has nothing to do with what the Mayor’s salary should be. 


The VOTE on the proposed amendment was 7-2 with POLLOCK and PAYNE opposed.


HALL MOVED to amend increase bonding and insurance line item to $11,200.  MICHAELS seconded. The VOTE was unanimous.


USIBELLI suggested postponing this ordinance until the august meeting to obtain a more accurate picture of the funds available. 


CASWELL said he would like to see this adopted to address the immediate needs of the school District and others effected by this ordinance.


Discussion followed, and the Assembly took a recess to make the appropriate changes to the ordinance.


RECESS                   MUELLER called for a recess at 3:55 p.m.


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


                                    MICHAELS MOVED to amend the ordinance to reflect the

proposed changes.  Those changes are as follows:  The Assembly

Budgetary reserve line item total would be $286,815, the Assembly

expense total would be $617,716, the Mayor’s expense total would

be $405,217, and the complete expense total would be

$2,243,789.  HALL seconded.


Minimal discussion followed, and the VOTE was unanimous.


MICHAELS MOVED to adopt the amended budget, and HALL seconded.


The roll call VOTE was 8-1, with USIBELLI opposed.


ASSEMBLY               MUELLER reminded the Assembly that they need to respond to the

COMMENTS             office memo regarding the annual trip into Denali National Park.


6.) Ordinance 02-08, Version A, an ordinance creating Title IV, Chapter 27 of the Denali Borough Code of Ordinances providing for classification of Borough-owned land.


TALERICO stated that he wanted to stress again that the purposes listed in the ordinance are really critical.  He said the purposes and the classifications go hand in hand.


HALL said a designation should be added the adds “unrestricted” under classifications.  She said most of the Borough is designated unrestricted.


Discussion followed, and HALL MOVED to include “unrestricted” to page two, under Section one.  CASWELL seconded.


MICHAELS suggested returning this ordinance to the LUPC for their review.  He said if the unrestricted classification is added, then there should be a definition of that classification.


HALL said this ordinance does not address how to reclassify lands.    MUELLER reminded the Assembly that the LUPC was tasked with coming up with definition only.


Healy resident Charlie Loeb suggested that an unrestricted definition be added on page three.


Denali Borough Attorney Jim Gorski stated that you could say that it is not a zoning ordinance but if it walks like a duck and talks like a   duck, then it is a duck!  He stated that unclassified and unrestricted are two different things, but the unrestricted classification should be integrated somehow.   He said if you do that, it would make interpretation down the trail a lot easier.  He said unrestricted and unclassified are two different things.


Loeb said this ordinance is not a zoning ordinance.  He said this ordinance is a classification ordinance for Borough owned lands. 


Gorski said this ordinance states that before the Borough can dispose of any lands they must classify the land.


Loeb said right now in the Borough there are only a couple of covenants restrictions once the land passes to private ownership.  He said he thinks the main impact this classification will have is on how land is subdivided and whom it’s marketed to, which the Borough is willing to sell to.  He said right now there is nothing in this ordinance that says there is going to be any regulatory restrictions on the land. 


Gorski said, as an example, what if the Borough had a[piece of land that was going to be conveyed to private hands, and the classification on that land was rural residential, then could they say the land is unrestricted and put an asphalt plant on that land.  He said there will be classifications, but what kind of weight does that classification carry once it goes to the next set of hands.


Loeb said it carries more clout if the Borough has a covenant or a land use regulation scheme on the land.  He said you can buy a five-acre parcel in the Panguingue Creek Subdivision, and the way it’s subdivided it makes sense that the land would be used for residential purposes.  He said another way this makes sense is if the assembly decides to lease some of the lands that will be classified commercial. 


Discussion followed. 


TALERICO said “unclassified” in the document is not a classification; it’s just a definition.  He said all that really means is that the Borough has not classified the land yet.


HALL clarified her motion:  to add “unrestricted” as a classification, and amend the motion to add item K.) under definitions.  


CASWELL stated that unrestricted is anything that is legal. 


Discussion followed. 


Gorski said from an enforcement point of view, the Assembly must decide if unrestricted is a classification.


MICHAELS suggested that the assembly review the current zoning ordinance and use that definition. 


Loeb suggested that the LUPC bring a definition of unrestricted.


CASWELL the Assembly needs to be careful not to allow more national monuments in the Borough.  He said we already have 4 million acres of national monuments! 


MICHAELS suggested that maybe the Assembly should back off from adding unrestricted, and do some research first. 


CASWELL spoke in favor of the proposed changes.


TALERICO called the question.


The VOTE on the amendment was 6 to 3, with POLLOCK, MICHAELS, and MUELLER opposed.


USIBELLI MOVED to postpone this ordinance until the next meeting.  PAYNE seconded. The VOTE was unanimous.


OTHER                       1.)  Liquor License restaurant/eating place designation

BUSINESS                application from Black Bear Coffee House.


HALL asked if the office had received any comments on this application.  The Clerk said no.  HALL MOVED to approve, and MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous.


2.) Transfer of Ownership request for the Clear Sky Lodge, package store designation.


SHIELDS declared a conflict of interest, as she is the owner of the Clear Sky Lodge. 


RECESS                   MUELLER called for a recess at 4:40 p.m.


RECONVIEND          MUELLER called the meeting back to order at     4:45 p.m.


                                    MUELLER read Chapter 12, Section C of the Denali Borough

Code of Ordinance pertaining to conflict of interest.  The Mayor

must make a determination regarding the stated conflict.


Mayor Gonzales stated that he does not be believe that any person who holds office should abstain from voting.  He said there are circumstances that were brought forward today, and he will allow SHIELDS to abstain from voting.



HALL MOVED to approve the transfer request, and MICHAELS seconded.  The VOTE was unanimous with SHIELDS abstaining.


3.)  Public comment.


Healy resident David Braun said that Jim Caswell was not counted during the last census.  He said that Caswell does not maintain a residence in this Borough.  He said Caswell is a resident of Anchorage.  He said his wife lives in Anchorage, as stated on his public offices form.  Braun said Caswell’s mining claim is not his residence.  He said you cannot have a residence on a state mining claim.  Braun said Mr. Caswell has been perpetrating this fraud for many years.  He said he does not appreciate a carpetbagger from Anchorage dictating land use policy in this Borough, and if Mr.Caswell is not an honorable enough person to resign his seat immediately as stated in the Charter, then he suggests that the Assembly remove him!  Braun said he addressed this issue two months ago, and you simply ignored it!  He said if indeed you thought he was a resident of this Borough you could just say so, but you chose to ignore it!  He said he has asked you please obey the law!


ASSEMBLY               CASWELL said that he wants it to be official in this forum that

COMMENTS             Mr. Braun cannot say he wasn’t informed, that CASWELL is hereby notifying Braun that you may not trespass on my property.


                                    Braun said no problem.


                                    USIBELLI said when we walked into the meeting we were handed an attorney letter regarding the open meeting act.  She asked what precipitated this document.


                                    Mayor Gonzales said the letter was written because he had asked the attorney for a legal opinion in regards to the open meeting act.


                                    USIBELLI said these letters cost money, and asked again what precipitated this letter.


                                    Mayor Gonzales said he had a need to know.  He said he needed to determine if he could talk to someone and not be in violation of the open meetings act.

NEXT MEETING       The next Assembly meeting will be held on August 11, 2002 in Healy.


ADJOURNMENT      MUELLER declared the regular meeting adjourned at 4:52 pm.



ATTEST:  _________________________          APPROVED:  __________________



Date Approved:  ____________________