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Smith revives assembly chair effort


Haines Borough Assembly member Norm Smith on Tuesday leveraged his vote needed for several capital improvements to get $2,300 of new chairs for the assembly members added to this year’s budget.

 Smith declined to vote for an amendment that would appropriate $150,000 for a new fire truck and other equipment unless other assembly members agreed to put $2,300 into the current year’s budget for new dais chairs in the assembly chambers.

Smith’s vote was critical, as only four assembly members attended the meeting and all four were required for official action. Assembly members Dave Berry and Debra Schnabel were absent.

“I would like to see the manager amend this budget ordinance to include the assembly chairs appropriation of $2,300. And if we do that, then I’ll vote for this,” Smith said.

During an April 23 meeting, the assembly split 3-3 – with a tiebreaking vote by Mayor Stephanie Scott – to remove the chairs from next year’s budget. Smith voted to retain the budget item, claiming chairs used now are uncomfortable and old. Members Dave Berry and Jerry Lapp also voted for new chairs at the April 23 meeting.

When asked why he thought Waterman and Vick flip-flopped on the chair issue, Smith said budgets are a give-and-take process. “They wanted the fire truck...Isn’t that the way politics works? You vote for my thing and I’ll vote for yours,” he said.

Waterman said her perspective on the matter shifted since the last meeting, but she doesn’t know if it could shift back again.

“I know that the chairs are important to (Smith) and to (Berry). I know at the last vote it was, I think, important to me to say that we have to look carefully at things. My feelings right then at that vote was that it was inappropriate,” Waterman said.

The amendment, which was ultimately approved, moves $165,000 for replacement of a dump truck into the current year’s budget. It also appropriates $10,000 for the Lutak Dock bathymetric survey.

The amendment is part of a larger ordinance that had its first public hearing Tuesday. The assembly will hold a second public hearing on May 28.