Local News

Capital project list back on Assembly agenda

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will take another look Monday at the prioritized community capital project request list, which was rejected by the Ketchikan City Council.

The lobbying executive committee, which includes representatives from the island’s three governments — the borough, the City of Ketchikan and the City of Saxman — voted overwhelmingly on Aug. 27 in favor of the prioritized list. It then was approved by the Assembly on Sept. 4, and by Saxman the following day.

The City Council, however, vetoed the list on Sept. 5 after City Manager Karl Amylon expressed concern about the prioritized order of projects.

The list must be ratified by the city, borough and Saxman before it can move forward. Once finalized, it will be used to request funding from the state for community projects. The Council asked the lobbying executive committee to reconsider the recommended priorities.

At the top of the list, the committee had placed a $20 million request to help remodel the Ketchikan Medical Center, followed by a $1 million request to continue planning and design work for the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project, and then a $1.8 million request to help remodel the downtown Fireside Building into a performing arts center. Those three items represent the top project picked by each government entity.

The city requested that the committee instead consider as the top three requests the hospital remodel, followed by about $13 million for city bridges, then $11 million for Ketchikan Shipyard improvements.

Committee chairman and Borough Mayor Dave Kiffer chose to not schedule another committee meeting before talking about the issue with the Assembly.

Suggested options that the Assembly will consider on Monday include reconvening the committee; forwarding just the borough’s list of capital projects to the governor’s office for him to consider when drafting his budget; combining borough and Saxman projects and sending that to the governor; or skipping the prioritized list and moving forward with creating a capital project booklet for the Legislature.

The Assembly meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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