The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is scheduled to take its final two votes on a $600,000 loan to OceansAlaska during its regular meeting Monday.
OceansAlaska is a nonprofit shellfish seed producer. It has been struggling financially in recent years, and a few months ago officials admitted that the organization mismanaged a grant from the borough.
OceansAlaska went through an overhaul of its board and employees. The new board hired a bookkeeper to straighten out the organization’s finances and came up with a new business plan. That plan is based on a loan from the borough that will help OceansAlaska get to the point where it can produce enough geoduck and oyster seed to pay for its operations.
The main argument in favor of the loan is that OceansAlaska supports the emerging shellfish farming industry, which needs seed to continue growing.
On Monday’s agenda is a public hearing and second vote on an ordinance approving an appropriation for OceansAlaska from the borough’s economic development fund; and a resolution approving the loan agreement, promissory note and security agreement. The loan agreement calls for the money to be given to OceansAlaska over five years. It would be paid back in monthly installments starting in 2019 and ending in 2034.
Also on Monday’s Assembly agenda is a resolution identifying and prioritizing the FY2016 community funding requests that will be sent to state officials. The list was placed in priority order by a committee of borough, City of Ketchikan and City of Saxman officials. The top item is the Swan Lake expansion project, followed by airport improvements, continued infrastructure work at the shipyard, the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project, viaduct replacement at Sayles and Gorge streets, the Saxman Harbor construction project, a layup facility at Ward Cove, the Performing Arts Center and funding for new ball fields.
Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.