Local News

Proposal floated for Saxman fire protection

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is scheduled Monday to consider an ordinance adding the City of Saxman to the South Tongass Fire and EMS Service Area, and placing the issue on the October ballot.

The South Tongass Service Area already provides fire and EMS to Saxman, but according to borough information, Saxman pays only for the EMS service. That is a $10,000 annual fee.

The service area and Saxman do have a memorandum of understanding covering fire services, which has been in place since 1991, but, the borough states, nobody can identify the last time any payment has been made on that MOU.

Various attempts have been made to resolve the issue. In 2012, for example, Saxman voters rejected a proposed property tax that would have paid for fire service.

The Saxman City Council has voted in support of joining the service area for fire and EMS coverage. However, the Saxman IRA Council opposes the plan.

If the ordinance passes the Assembly process, which requires two readings, it will be placed on the October ballot for Saxman and South Tongass residents to consider. It must pass in both areas. If it fails, the South Tongass Service Area Board could move toward discontinuing all fire service for Saxman.

Also Monday, the Assembly will consider a second and final vote on a grant to help fund OceansAlaska, which produces seed for Alaska shellfish farmers.

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

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