Local News

Seasonal sales tax on City Council agenda

A Ketchikan City Council member wants the city to establish a seasonally adjusted sales tax to take advantage of the influx of summer visitors. The Council will consider Matt Olsen’s suggestion during Thursday’s regular meeting.

The city now has a year-round sales tax of 3.5 percent. The proposal calls for abolishing that, and replacing it with a summer tax of 4 percent and a winter tax of 3 percent.

The summer tax would be April through September, effective this year.

Finance Director Bob Newell says that if such a proposal had been in place last year, the city would have collected nearly $500,000 more.

Making the new tax effective this April could be challenging for merchants. Newell suggests that if the Council wants to make the change this year, it consider an alternate July 1st start date.

Some tour operators might have a problem with implementing a new tax this year, he adds, because they already have priced their tour packages based on the 3.5 percent sales tax.

City Manager Karl Amylon suggests that if the Council adopts the proposal, additional revenue collected be dedicated to the Ketchikan Medical Center renovation project.

Also Thursday, the Council has an executive session at the end of the meeting, to discuss a lawsuit filed by Miller Construction Co. over the city’s termination of the Jackson and Monroe reconstruction project.

Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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