Local News

School district budget revision gets boro OK

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted unanimously Monday to increase the spending authority of the Ketchikan School District by about $1.8 million.

The extra funding is the result of a higher-than-expected student count. It brings the district’s budget to nearly $42 million. The Assembly has limited oversight over the district’s annual spending plan.

Monday’s vote was the second of two readings on the issue. It followed a public hearing, but nobody got up to speak.

Also Monday, the Assembly voted 5-1 to purchase the Transit Department’s bus barn on Copper Ridge for $760,000. Assembly Member Glen Thompson voted no.

The borough now leases the bus barn for about $125,000 a year from BAM Construction. According to a Transit Department memo, if the borough continued to pay rent, it would pay more than $3 million over the useful life of the building.

Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst said the purchase is a good deal, and various borough officials support the move.

“It will save this community significant amounts of money in terms of local funding, locally generated money that is now going to pay for the rent,” he said. “It also will allow the allocation of federal transit funds that are now being directed towards the rent to be used for other purposes, perhaps even as a subsidy for operation of the airport ferry. With all sensitivity to state and federal fiscal issues, the opportunity to purchase this building comes at no local cost.”

The Assembly also voted Monday to change the date of the second meeting in February to Feb. 25, because of a conflict with the legislative fly-in lobbying trip.

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