Local News

City Council set to wrap up budget deliberations

The Ketchikan City Council’s regular meeting Thursday will start with two public hearings, one each for the city’s general government and Ketchikan Public Utilities budgets.

The Council has been reviewing and adjusting the two budgets in a series of special meetings the past couple of months. Thursday’s meeting should mark the end of the process, some last-minute changes, and a final vote approving both.

The city must approve both budgets before the end of this year.

First readings of two ordinances that would change the city’s sales tax structure also are on the Council’s agenda. The first would increase the sales tax cap from $1,000 to $2,000; and the second would establish a seasonal sales tax increase for just the summer months, effective this coming April.

During a Chamber of Commerce event on Wednesday, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau CEO Patti Mackey noted that vendors who sell their tours aboard cruise ships already have set their prices with those cruise lines. The extra 1 percent sales tax was not factored into those prices, she said.

The Chamber speaker, City Mayor Lew Williams III, said the Council can talk about that during Thursday’s consideration of the measure. He added that he believes the tax cap increase will ultimately fail.

Other ordinances on the agenda include a wastewater and a water rate increase.

If the ordinances pass in first reading, they must come back to the Council for a second vote before they are enacted.

The 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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