Bethel City Council

Photo courtesy of Pictures of Money from Flickr CC.

Photo courtesy of Pictures of Money from Flickr CC.

Bethel City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday to authorize reimbursements to Bethel property owners who the city overcharged on real estate taxes for more than a decade, following a typo in the city’s tax code.

City Attorney Patty Burley discovered the problem and says the city overcharged about 160 transactions, collecting more than $100,000 in excess charges since 2002. The most the city could have overcharged someone, she says, is $1,200. Read more →

Bethel City Council discusses the proposed ordinance overhauling the city's alcohol laws. Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK.

Bethel City Council discusses the proposed ordinance overhauling the city’s alcohol laws. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK.)

Bethel City Council introduced an ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting to cap council meeting times. The proposal, introduced by Council Member Nikki Hoffman, would stop regularly scheduled meetings at 11:00 p.m. with the option to recess until the following day with a two-thirds majority vote.

“It’s allowing for us to not rush through things and make rash decisions at late hours or early hours— however you want to look at it,” Hoffman said.

Under city code, council meetings can extend past 11:00 p.m. with a motion—something the current council has almost consistently employed, sometimes adjourning at 1:30 a.m. Many of the meetings extending into the morning hours occurred during the council’s months long discussion overhauling the city’s alcohol codes. Read more →

Yupik vote

“I voted,” in Yugtun and English.

To increase voter turnout for local elections, the City of Bethel is looking into replacing voting at the polls with voting by mail. The thinking behind the shift is more people would vote if ballots were cast more conveniently through the postal service rather than at a poll at a specific time on a specific date.

According to the proposal, Bethel’s turnout for local elections has remained less than 25 percent over the last four years. Hoping to raise those numbers, Council Member Chuck Herman introduced the measure at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“The idea behind by mail elections is three weeks or a month before the election, ballots are mailed to all registered voters. They need to return them to the mail or a designated spot. These are details that would be worked out,” Herman said. Read more →

Part of the DOT's design for changes to Ridgecrest Drive. Courtesy of DOT.

Part of the DOT’s design for changes to Ridgecrest Drive. Courtesy of DOT.

Bethel City Council approved almost $5,000 to get right-of-ways for a road project at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

This is a project the city has already spent almost $50,000 on and could spend about $250,000 more on. And as Council Member Leif Albertson said when addressing the Dept. of Transportation at the meeting, it’s a project the city doesn’t see reaping any benefits. Read more →

Fili's Pizza. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

Fili’s Pizza. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

Next month, Bethel could hold its first restaurant liquor license in decades. March 6 marks the final day Bethel City Council can protest the Fili’s Pizza liquor license application. The council rejected that action at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, its final meeting before the protest deadline. Read more →

Cabs line up outside Bethel's AC store, waiting to pick up passengers. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

Cabs line up outside Bethel’s AC store, waiting to pick up passengers. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

In four months Bethel cabs and other regulated vehicles will be required to carry surveillance cameras and GPS.

The ordinance narrowly passed in a 4-3 vote at Tuesday’s city council meeting with members Chuck Herman, Byron Maczynski, and Alisha Welch in opposition. Read more →

Blackberry Kush, Indica by Dank Depot. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Marijuana, Blackberry Kush, Indica by Dank Depot. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

To buy the city time to figure out its marijuana regulations, Bethel City Council has introduced an ordinance to place a six-month hold on processing any land use, zoning, or licensing approvals for marijuana operations in Bethel. The introduction passed unanimously at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The state will begin accepting marijuana applications next month and reviewing them in May. But council members, including Chuck Herman, think that’s too soon for Bethel to work out its marijuana laws. Read more →

Cabs line up outside Bethel's AC store, waiting to pick up passengers. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

Cabs line up outside Bethel’s AC store, waiting to pick up passengers. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

At its last meeting Bethel City Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would require cabs to install surveillance cameras. City Council will take up the issue again today. Proponents of the measure say the cameras would reduce bootlegging and violence against drivers. Opponents say the shift violates passenger privacy. KYUK’s Anna Rose MacArthur took to the streets and asked cab drivers what they thought of the proposal.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read more →

Donlin runway and camp site in summer 2014. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

Donlin runway and camp site in summer 2014. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

With the proposed Donlin Gold Mine appearing like a truer and nearer reality, the City of Bethel is looking at transforming into an organized borough. At Tuesday’s meeting Bethel City Council voted to give City Manager Ann Capela the go-ahead into mapping out the process. Council member Nikki Hoffman introduced the measure.

Capela said, as a borough, Bethel would have greater control over land use and could tax Donlin Gold. Read more →

Council member Chuck Herman, running Tuesday's Bethel City Council meeting. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

Council member Chuck Herman. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

Bethel City Council is considering requiring video surveillance and GPS in cabs.

At Tuesday’s meeting Council member Zach Fansler said the proposal aims to reduce bootlegging and violence against cab drivers and passengers. Read more →