Garbage dumped at a pullout on Lutak Road has attracted the attention of borough officials. The site has historically been a problem for illegal dumping in Haines, where residents pay by the bag to drop off trash at the privately-run dumpsite. (Lex Treinen/Chilkat Valley News)

Illegal trash dumping
The mayor and borough manager said a spot off Lutak Road has once again become the site of illegal trash dumping. The spot — the first pullout past Picture Point — was previously known as an illegal dumping site, and borough staff said they found trash there again. Morphet said he hoped to allocate $1,000 to offset trash-disposal costs for low-income residents. Kreitzer said she would start a public education campaign that would include PSAs on KHNS and signage in the area. She said she was also discussing with the police department the possibility of setting up closed-circuit television cameras in the area to monitor for violations.

New cell tower?
The mayor and city manager said they met with representatives from AT&T about potentially building a new cellphone tower in town that would alleviate slow cell service during high-traffic cruise ship days in the summer. No definite plans were decided, but AT&T showed interest in a lot next to Haines School to build a 120-foot tower. “That may or may not be in AT&T’s financial interest,” said mayor Tom Morphet. Borough manager Annette Kreitzer said AT&T hasn’t applied for any permits and is just gathering information. Several companies have expressed interest in building towers in recent years — most recently a Colorado company that proposed building a 5G tower on the side of Mount Ripinsky — but none have come to fruition. “They’ll say they’re very interested and then it just dies off,” said Kreitzer.

Jake brake ordinance pushed till next meeting
An ordinance introduced by member Craig Loomis to ban Jake brakes, a type of engine brake, in the townsite drew some strong public feedback. Loomis and others in favor of the ban said Jake brakes cause undue noise and don’t help with safety, but Donnie Turner, owner of Turner Construction, said it was a safety issue for his trucks if they were to be banned. After discussion of the specific language of a ban, the assembly voted to move the discussion until March 26.

Property tax proposals draw public interest
A proposal about a new appointed Board of Equalization to adjudicate disputes over property assessments drew lots of discussion. Earlier this year, an ad-hoc committee suggested the board be appointed (instead of being composed of assembly members) for three-year terms with a quorum of three. Assembly member Debra Schnabel suggested an alternate version of the ordinance in which members were appointed for one-year terms that served just for the duration of the annual appeal process, and changed the quorum to four. She argued the format would allow BOE members to talk to neighbors outside of the appeal season, which could potentially attract more applicants. The borough is currently soliciting applicants to fill the board, which could include up to nine members. Ad-hoc committee chair Paul Rogers argued against Schnabel’s substitute ordinance, saying that a majority vote with four members would require 75% of members to vote with appellants, which was out of line with the burden of proof for the appellants, which is to show a “preponderance of evidence” that the assessed values weren’t correct. Schnabel ultimately dropped her proposal, and the ordinance — along with two others related to the tax assessment process — moved to the next assembly meeting for a second hearing.