HOUSTON — The Houston City Council met for the first time since Election Day on Oct. 1 to discuss the regular business of the city of Houston ranging from the wildfires that raged around Houston in the summer and the impending white, falling frozen water.
Mayor Virgie Thompson declared Oct. 6-12 as Fire Prevention Week during the meeting at Houston City Hall Thursday night. The Houston Fire Department will visit schools on Oct. 15 to educate the students in Houston about fire safety. Houston also passed Ordinance 19-14 unanimously, which accepted and appropriated 12,977.21 for lease of emergency equipment to the Alaska Division of Forestry during the McKinley Fire.
Thompson made an amendment to the ordinance that removed ‘fire department’ from the ordinance. The amendment insures that the monies from the DOF will go toward the workman’s compensation for all city employees, not just those on the fire department.
Following reports, Thompson asked Public Works Director Ray Russell if they were prepared for snow on the roads.
“Drive careful for the next 30 days because we’re probably going to have a lot of snow,” Thompson said.
Houston City Clerk Sonya Dukes announced that Houston will host it’s inaugural Trunk or Treat event on Halloween at from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Little Su Campground, provided the weather holds up.
Gov. Dunleavy’s Mat-Su office director Todd Smoldon provided the council with an update from the governor’s office and commended the council on beginning the Trunk or Treat event. Smoldon had participated in a meeting with the suicide prevention task force in Wasilla earlier Thursday evening.
“The most effective way at least to curb youth suicide and suicide ideation is for them to be connected to the community, so anything that you do for your city’s youth to connect with them is a great thing,” Smoldon said.
Smoldon also updated the council on the drama with the Alaska Marijuana Control Board and Alcohol Control Board. The Alcohol Control Board submitted a vote of no confidence for Director Erika McConnell, and the Marijuana Control Board has an opportunity to do the same before Nov. 30. Both boards must vote to remove McConnell if she is not to remain on as director. Smoldon also gave the council an update on the Senate seat M replacement decision. Smoldon said that because each Senator represents 35,000 Alaskans, Dunleavy is hesitant to call a special session on the Permanent Fund Dividend until that seat is filled.
“He’s going to continue to fight for the statute as it exists until it is changed with input from the people of Alaska,” Smoldon said.
The council also voted to rezone 3.01 acres from single and two-family residential to multi-family residential, allowing the property owner to construct a four-plex on the parcel. The council additionally voted on two Action Memorandums approving the liquor and restaurant license transfer to the Susitna Bar and Grill, which hopes to open their doors by mid-November.
The Houston City Council will meet again on Oct. 14 to certify their elections and pick a mayor and deputy mayor.
“We wish of course the turnout would’ve been better,” Thompson said.
Virgie Thompson has served as mayor for nine years.