Local News

City eyes budget cuts to pay for health insurance

At the request of the Ketchikan City Council, City Manager Karl Amylon has proposed a series of budget cuts to offset increased health insurance costs for non-union city employees.

The manager had suggested at the last Council meeting that city reserves could be used, but Council members balked at that idea and asked him to look for ways to trim the budget.

The city needs to find about $90,000 to pay those premium increases for the remainder of this year.

In a memo to the Council, Amylon identified more than enough cuts to pay for that program, allowing the Council to choose. The potential cuts include grant funding for the Small Business Development Center, the city’s contract with Victor Four Labor Relations, a Finance Department accounting technician job, one police officer position and one central office technician job at Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division.

Amylon lists other budget reductions that are possible because some items have cost less than anticipated, such as Harbor Department salaries, which are lower because of employee turnover.

In his memo to the Council, Amylon also suggests that members consider freezing community nonprofit grants at the current level, rather than continue tying it to sales taxes. The city raised its sales tax rate this year, and he writes that the increased rate would mean about $30,000 more earmarked for grants next year.

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

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