Local News

OceansAlaska funding back on Assembly agenda

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meets Monday in regular session. Among the agenda items is a work session to discuss an ordinance that would provide a $144,000 grant to OceansAlaska.

That nonprofit, which focuses on producing seed for Alaska shellfish farmers, is having financial problems. Among those problems is misallocation of borough grant funding. At its last meeting, the Assembly allowed the manager to distribute the last $20,000 remaining in the current grant, but only at his discretion.

Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst sent a list of questions to OceansAlaska that he wanted answered before releasing the funds. They haven’t been answered yet, but he did release about $7,000 to the organization, to pay critical expenses, such as employee salaries.

OceansAlaska’s new bookkeeper, MJ Cadle, gave the borough a list of the group’s outstanding liabilities. They add up to nearly $80,000. She also informed the borough that the facility’s liability insurance expired in April and apparently hadn’t been renewed.

Also on Monday, the Assembly will consider introducing an ordinance restoring funding to the Ketchikan Public Library.

Bockhorst also is asking for Assembly direction regarding the second Ketchikan International Airport ferry.

In his report, Bockhorst writes that, because of staffing issues, the borough has not operated a second ferry this summer. Overall, he writes that it hasn’t caused a hardship to users, and the borough could save $85,000 a year by not running the second vessel.

He recommends discontinuing that service until demand increases.

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

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