ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Anchorage’s Higher Taxes Linked to School Funding

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Anchorage property tax bills have increased over the last year largely because of a school bond funding veto by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The increase is related to a transfer of school bond debt reimbursement burden from the state to local taxpayers, The Anchorage Daily News reported  Wednesday.

The bills issued May 1 vary based on the city area of each taxpayer’s property, with an average of $1,675 per $100,000 of property. A homeowner with a house valued at $350,000 had a property tax increase of $168.

The Anchorage Assembly approved a request from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to delay payment deadlines by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first payment is due in July instead of June, with the second payment due in September instead of August.

The transfer of school bond debt liability will cost $48 per $100,000 of property value.

The state operated a program for decades covering half or more of the amount of local school bonds.

Dunleavy’s budget proposal in 2019 cut the funding. The Legislature passed a package that included full school bond debt reimbursement, but Dunleavy eliminated half of that using his veto, which the Legislature failed to override.

The change put about $20.5 million in debt service onto Anchorage taxpayers. The Anchorage School District found about $4 million to offset the cut, leaving $16.5 million to be covered by property taxpayers.

 

“That was a significant jump,” Anchorage’s Office of Management and Budget Director Lance Wilber said.

Dunleavy planned to use money from federal coronavirus relief funds to replace money he vetoed from the state budget, allocating more than $560 million to cities and boroughs.

There has not yet been clear guidance on whether federal rules allow the funding to be used for the items Dunleavy vetoed.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

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Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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