The Ketchikan City Council voted unanimously Thursday to place a $43 million bond question on the Oct. 1 ballot. The funding, if approved by city voters, would go toward the first phase of improvements at the city-owned hospital building.
Council Member Sam Bergeron talked to KRBD Friday morning about the meeting, and said he supports the project.
“There’s a whole master plan at the hospital,” he said. “We are going to put in, I think the ultimate plan is $72 million, and this is the first part of it. It’s desperately and sorely needed.”
Also Thursday, the Council moved forward with a $37,000 contract with CH2M Hill, to test a new treatment method for the city’s water supply, combining the new ultraviolet treatment process with chlorine injections.
A separate $130,000 contract will pay for that firm to investigate watershed microbial sources, which are contaminants in Ketchikan Lakes, the city’s main water supply.
Federal regulations require that the untreated water not exceed a certain level of bacteria. Starting a couple of years ago, levels at Ketchikan Lakes tested higher than allowed. The cause has been attributed primarily to landslides, which increased the amount of woody debris rotting in the vicinity. The study will positively identify the source, allowing the city to find ways to control it.
Bergeron said the city doesn’t want to be forced into filtration.
“Unless we do something to get our water up to DEC and environmental standards, they’re going to want us to put in a $40 million water filtration plant,” he said. “So, all of this, including the UV plant, was done to avoid putting in a filtration plant. So, it’s a good concept.”
The Council on Thursday also awarded construction contracts for a new drive-down ramp at Bar Harbor, with an estimated cost of $5 million. Construction will start in the fall, with hopes of completion by spring of next year.