Bethel city council postpones water and sewer discussion, names new finance director

Bethel’s city council postponed a look at higher water and sewer rates and will study the issue at the next meeting. The city hired a firm last year to examine changes to the way it charges for water and sewer rates. As it stands, the city’s water revenues are not enough to cover costs. The city had to transfer a half million dollars from the general fund to cover costs last year.

The recommendations include implementing a two-zone structure for hauled water customers. People who live further from the center of town would pay more for hauled water.

The council approved the hiring of a new finance director, Hansel Mathlaw. He is originally from Bethel and graduated high school here before studying at UAA. He’s worked for the Lower Kuskokwim School District and the Association of Village Council Presidents for a total of 14 years.

Silly string and fart spray are still legal in Bethel. The council did not have enough support to bring up a proposed ban on practical joke items. The motion to take up the ban failed 5 to 2.

In her councilman’s comments Heather Pike noted that 7th avenue has been experiencing a high number of thefts. Pike says there is very limited lighting in the area. City manager Lee Foley noted that there had been thefts on 5th and 6th avenues before brighter LEDs were installed and that the city would be able to add more lights to 7th avenue.

Committee appointments include Frank Neitz to the Public Works Committee, John Guinn to the Planning Commission, and Sharon Neth to the Energy Committee.

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