Budget Cuts Claim Kotzebue Library Funding

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough Martha Siikauraq Whiting says budget cuts for the borough had to include funding for the public library in Kotzebue because she needed to carve $4 million out of their operating budget and deep cuts were made across the board.

But Mayor Whiting says she doesn’t think the library is in peril.

Whiting says budget woes began about six months ago when the payment in lieu of taxes or PILT agreement that the borough has with Teck Resources Limited, the operator of the Red Dog mine had a doubtful future. The main deposit at Red Dog is nearly depleted and until permits came through earlier this year to continue operations there on an adjacent deposit, the borough did not know if their PILT money would continue. 

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