Local News

Library, dispatch funding on Council agenda

The Ketchikan City Council will take on some recent contentious issues during its regular meeting Thursday, including disagreements with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough over emergency dispatching fees and library funding.

The city had wanted to charge the borough about $150,000 for dispatching, and the borough offered a tenth of that amount. The City Council recently dropped its offer to $40,000, but the borough has not moved from its position, arguing that $15,000 is reasonable and fair, considering the percentage of emergency calls that originate outside of city limits.

The motion offered for consideration was submitted by Mayor Lew Williams III, and it accepts the borough’s offer.

Regarding library funding, the borough has historically paid for a portion of the city-run library’s operating expenses through a nonareawide fee. The City Council has approved an agreement calling for the borough to pay about $420,000 for library operations, but the borough has not yet accepted that agreement.

Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst, with the backing of the Borough Assembly, wants the city to track library use on a monthly basis, to establish whether the annual fee is fair. In a lengthy written report, Library Director Linda Lyshol says there is no way to easily track who uses the library, that it would add significantly to staff time and expense, and that it likely would annoy patrons.

She also argues that use isn’t the only reason to pay for a public service. For example, all borough property owners pay for public schools, regardless of whether or not they have children.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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