Howarth addresses state budget, cruise visit, Texas shooting

PWSRCAC gives report to Cordova City Council on board, projects

City Manager Helen Howarth. (May 1, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Property taxes, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, the state budget and shooter safety took center stage at the June 1 Cordova City Council meeting.

City Manager Helen Howarth told Council she felt funds for Cordova’s South Harbor Rebuild would be safe from vetos. Gov. Mike Dunleavy said May 19 that the state budget would be passed, but he was still considering some line-item vetos.

“I have on really good authority that the $3 million for the harbor project is intact and it’s not going to be vetoed,” Howarth said.

Howarth also made a joyous kudos to the “Chamber of Commerce and the broader community,” on their involvement during the cruise ship visit on Memorial Day, seeing hundreds of tourists from all over.

“Really successful, everyone had a good time,” Howarth said. Another Norwegian cruise ship is scheduled to arrive back in Cordova at the end of June.

Howarth also recognized the horrific shooting tragedy that took place in Texas on May 24, taking the lives of 19 students and two teachers, wounding 17 others, according to reports.

“There have been a number of folks inquiring about what the cities process is around active shooters,” Howarth said. “I would like to suggest that for the pending agenda, we would have the police department come and give an update on active shooter training and how they would respond.”

“There also have been statewide communication coming out of the governor’s office as well as the public health departments, that there is a huge problem with Fentanyl in this state, Fentanyl laced drugs that have the potential to due significant damage to our population and kill people. We will do two public awareness pieces on active shooter and the Fentanyl opioid problem that is going on,” said Howarth.

That is scheduled for the June 15 meeting, slated to run as a work session.

The June 1 public hearing addressed a resolution to set the property tax mill levy for the 2022 tax year at 11.54 mills. No public comment was made.

PWSRCAC reports

Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council Board of Directors shared a synopsis of its two day meeting May 5-6 with City Council.

PWSRCAC elected board members to serve until May of the following year including:

  • President: Robert Archibald, Homer
  • Vice President: Amanda Bauer, Valdez
  • Secretary: Bob Shavelson, Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition
  • Treasurer: Wayne Donaldson, Kodiak
  • Three Members-at-Large: Robert Beedle, Cordova
  • Ben Cutrell, Chugach Alaska Corporation
  • Angela Totemoff, Tatitlek

New members were seated, and long-time volunteers were recognized for reaching a half a decade milestone of volunteering. Patience Anderson Faulkner, the board’s longest running member, retired after 24 years of service on PWSRCAC.

Big ticket items included a report on Alyeska, Environmental Monitoring and Geographic Response Strategies planning for the Copper River Delta.

“Morales reported on regular operations during the past year, highlighting Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s efforts to deal with snow that accumulated on the large storage tanks this past winter and associated tank vent damage,” the report stated. Andres Morales is Alyeska Pipeline’s director of emergency preparedness and response.

Morgan Bender from the Owl Ridge Natural Resource Consultants, shared a synopsis from the 2021 results of the PWSRCAC’s Annual Long-Term Environmental Monitoring Program.

“The program analyzes mussels, marine sediment, and passive sampling devices to monitor oil contamination associated with operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated tankers,” according to the packet. The final report is slated to be available for review later this summer.

Sierra Fletcher of Nuka Research submitted a report that was accepted by PWSRCAC regarding the current state of affairs and history of developing delicate area protection blueprint for the Copper River Delta and Flats region.

“This project was developed by the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Committee to better understand and document how these strategies were created and what information within the addendum is still relevant today,” PWSRCAC reported. Researchers hope this report will lead to future committee work on the topic.