Local News

Local projects in draft Finance Committee budget

 

Ketchikan fares much better in the Senate’s Finance Committee’s draft version of the capital budget than the spending plan submitted in December by Gov. Sean Parnell.

Among the local projects in the committee’s proposed $1.9 billion budget is $10 million each for Ketchikan Medical Center and the Water Street trestle project; $4.8 million for Bar Harbor South; $2.3 million for two water and sewer repair projects; $1 million to remodel the airport’s rescue building; and $400,000 to finish the waterfront promenade.

The draft budget also includes $14.5 million for Metlakatla to renovate its elementary school.

In a statement Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee members say their priorities were to restrain spending growth, while addressing infrastructure needs, finishing current projects, and maintaining assets.

The proposal still must make it through the full Senate.

Ketchikan City Mayor Lew Williams III said he’s pleased that important local projects made it into the committee’s proposed budget.

“We’re really happy that we came up with $10 million for the medical center, for the water street trestle. The things we received are everything we need toward those projects,” he said.

Once the Senate approves its version of the capital budget, it still must get past Parnell, who has line-item veto power. Parnell’s proposed budget totaled $1.8 billion.

Williams said it’s impossible to predict whether the local projects will make it through the Senate process, and through the governor’s review.

“But it’s better than not having them in there, so I’m really happy, and I’m encouraged,” he said.

According to the Finance Committee, the draft budget is Alaska’s smallest capital budget in more than five years. The first hearing is tentatively set for Thursday afternoon.

 

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