In its Sept. 22 meeting, the Bethel City Council passed a number of budget modifications, ranging from hiring additional staff for the finance department to fixing issues with the YK Fitness Center.
The city will spend $330,000 to help stabilize the finance department; most of that money will pay for the services of an outside accounting firm because the city is currently without a permanent finance director or acting finance director.
The city will also spend $250,000 to deal with construction issues at the YK Fitness Center that resulted in the facility almost freezing up last winter. Earlier, KYUK mistakenly reported that the cost would be $620,000.
The city council will look into expanding the fitness center, with a $75,000 feasibility study to examine whether a gymnasium add-on is possible.
The city is also moving forward on a joint project with the state to upgrade three of the city’s most trafficked roads: Akakeek St., Ptarmigan St., and Delapp Rd. The whole project will cost over $7,271,462, but the state will pay most of the cost, with Bethel chipping in 9.03%. Acting City Manager Lori Strickler said that the reconstructed roads will be built differently than any other road in Bethel.
“These roads are going to be engineered specifically for our region, our climate,” Strickler said.
The city council also directed the administration to acquire land rights to build a gravel road between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation hospital.