Local News

Council OK’s tax hike; grants for nonprofits

The Ketchikan City Council voted Thursday to finalize the months-long process leading to a year-round half-percent sales tax increase.

There had been discussion of a seasonal sales tax, to take advantage of the busy summer tourist season, but the majority of the Council eventually decided that would be challenging for business owners. Thursday’s vote established a new, full-time 4 percent sales tax, starting April 1.

The new sales tax will increase the city’s revenue this year by about $900,000.

Also Thursday, the Council finalized this year’s distribution of grant funding for local nonprofit agencies.

In the 2014 budget, the Council had set aside $358,000 for nonprofit grants, but the committee that distributes those funds came up with a recommended distribution that fell slightly short of that amount. During its Feb. 6 meeting, the City Council decided to fund all the agencies at the 2013 level, rather than accept the recommendation. But, they found out later that doing so would require about $2,000 more.

The Council chose a new path during Thursday’s meeting. Members decided to split the amount of money left from the original $358,000 appropriation between the homeless shelter and Southeast Senior Services, rather than add more to that part of the budget.

The next Ketchikan City Council meeting is March 6.

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