Bethel City Council To Discuss Issues Related To COVID-19

May 12, 2020

Bethel City Council to discuss on allocating $60,000 to homelessness funds, extending the COVID-19 emergency declaration, and making metered cab fares permanent.
Credit City of Bethel

Bethel City Council will meet May 12 to consider three proposals related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first ordinance, introduced last week, would allocate $60,000 for homeslessness services. An earlier story on KYUK incorrectly said that the allocation was already approved. The council did introduce that ordinance at the May 5 meeting, but will listen to public testimony before voting on that ordinance tonight.

City Manager Vincent "Vinny" Corazza is introducing another ordinance to extend the COVID-19 emergency declaration another 60 days. The declaration would give the city administration and city council special powers to modify or suspend sections of the Bethel Municipal Code in order to ensure the welfare of the city during the public health emergency. Under that authority, the previous Acting City Manager, Bill Howell, changed the cab fares from a flat-rate shared-ride system to a per-minute fare-only system, allowing a single group per ride. 

Corazza is asking for the city council’s permission to permanently change Bethel’s taxi rules. The change would require cabs to install meters instead of using the current system of using cell phones to tell how long the ride is. The proposal is supported by Kusko Cab co-owner Naim Shabani, who says that cab rides in Bethel should have a $5 base cost plus $2.75 per mile.

Tune in to KYUK for a live broadcast of the council meeting May 12 at 6:30 p.m.