A current faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Leif Albertson runs the Bethel community garden and has volunteered with the Bethel Fire Department for the past 15 years.
One of his early accomplishments on Council was the passing of the Complete Streets ordinance in 2015, which looks at creating safer walking spaces for pedestrians in Bethel.
“I think that we have way too many interactions between pedestrians and automobiles,” said Albertson. “I’ve seen that first hand as a paramedic with the fire department.”
This past term Albertson worked on the sales tax code rewrite as the Council representative on the Finance Committee.
In the upcoming term Albertson’s priorities are: taking a hard look at the impact alcohol sales are having on the community, utilities, and long term planning for the city budget.
“We’ve been facing declining revenues from sales tax, so looking for other revenue streams,” said Albertson. “At the same time we’ve had increased costs from infrastructure. We’ve got a union contract pending; we need to pay our folks. So I think making a five-year budget plan is a priority for me.”
Another priority for Albertson is the institutional corridor project.
“In the long run I don’t think trucking water is the best way to deliver water to this community, so it’s import to me that we get more buildings and houses on piped water. I think that’s sustainable,” said Albertson.
Voters will be deciding whether to increase the Bethel Alcohol sales tax this election. Albertson proposed increasing the tax from 12 percent to 15 percent.
“We have availability of cheap alcohol now and we’ve seen that affect the community a number of ways. We have more fire department calls. We have more police calls. We’ve heard from the non-profits, like TWC and [Bethel] Search and Rescue, that that’s meant more activity for them as well,” said Albertson. “I think Bethel needs to find a way to deal with that increased activity from alcohol.”