On April 9, Bethel City Council voted for former Bethel Mayor Hugh Dyment to fill the open seat left when former council member Fred Watson resigned. Dyment, who works at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center, said that he felt the call to serve the city during its time of crisis.
“We’re going to be looking back, and I want to feel confident that during a very, very difficult time, that I stepped up and did what needed to be done,” Dyment said.
Dyment applauded the city for its preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that he wants to help continue those efforts. That includes meeting regularly with the city’s organizations, and planning for how to service homes with hauled water and sewer if drivers get sick.
On non-COVID issues, Dyment said that he was not aware that the city was mulling an online sales tax, but said that he would lean toward favoring it.
“Just right now, shooting from the hip, I’m not opposed to that, but I’ll listen to the people,” Dyment said.
Mayor Perry Barr said that he proposed at least delaying the online sales tax implementation during these “unprecedented times.” Dyment agreed with that.
The council selected Dyment over two other candidates: Rose “Sugar” Henderson and Joni Beckham. It took three tries for the council to reconcile a split vote. Council member Alyssa Leary urged her colleagues to vote for the candidate with experience in the position.
Dyment's term will last six months, and end in October 2020. He will serve on the Port Commission. The new council member says that he does not plan to run for another term.