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The Bethel City Council has tabled a vote on adding city sales tax to commercial flights

Christine Trudeau

During their June 28 meeting, the Bethel City council tabled a vote on taxing commercial flights. The move to postpone came after an attorney for Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures, Inc., a local tour company, called into the meeting to object to the city sales tax on flights. The attorney said that the local ordinance would violate a state law. Council members said that they would take up the vote again once the city attorney had a chance to look at it.

The council also voted to introduce a ballot proposition into their agenda. The ballot proposition will appear on municipal ballots this October. It will determine whether the City of Bethel has the authority to issue mask mandates. More than 117 residents signed a petition requesting that the proposition appear on the ballot. Although city council is expected to vote on the ballot proposition at their next meeting, that’s just a formality. Because enough voters asked for the measure, it must appear on the ballot either way.

The council also introduced a measure that would take $55,727 out of the city’s combined cash budget to allot to the Bethel Fire Department. The city manager said that’s to compensate for mandatory overtime for firefighters. He said that the firefighters have worked more shifts than expected because the fire department has lost volunteers over the past year. That measure is expected to appear during the next regular city council meeting.

The city manager provided an update on several more items at the June 28 meeting. He said that he feels closer to hiring a Bethel Police Chief. The Bethel Police Department has been without a chief of police since May 1, when former Bethel Police Chief Richard Simmons stepped down from his post. The manager also said that he is looking for volunteers to help with the city’s Fourth of July festivities.

Olivia Ebertz is a News Reporter for KYUK. She also works as a documentary filmmaker. She enjoys learning languages, making carbs, and watching movies.