The Ketchikan City Council is in the middle of its annual review of the proposed 2015 budgets for the City of Ketchikan and the city-owned Ketchikan Public Utilities.
The Council has wrapped up its review of KPU’s budget, and last Monday night, members kicked off their review of the proposed general government spending plan.
City Manager Karl Amylon summarized the draft city budget. He said the document maintains the status quo overall, with some exceptions. One of those is an 8 percent increase in wastewater rates, effective April 1. Amylon said current revenue can’t pay for operations or infrastructure needs.
For residential customers, that 8 percent rate hike will mean an approximately $4 increase in the monthly bill.
Amylon said the city also plans to start opening the Ketchikan Public Library on Sundays again, which will add staffing costs. The Council didn’t get to the library portion of the budget last night, so the fate of that change remains to be seen.
“Lastly, harbor rates are programmed to increase by an additional 7 percent, which is directly the result of the City Council’s authorization to borrow the third million of the $5 million bond issue previously authorized by the voters,” he said.
The harbor rate increase will take effect on Sept. 1.
Another likely rate increase that isn’t yet in the budget is solid waste fees. The city’s contract for solid waste disposal is running out, and the only bidder for a new contract has increased the costs. The city is negotiating that new contract with Regional Disposal Company of Seattle.
“We’re in the process of trying to put together an agreement, but the company has made it quite clear that there isn’t a lot of negotiating latitude,” Amylon said.
During the annual budget review, the Council goes through each department’s budget, with Amylon and department managers on hand for any questions that come up. On Monday, the Council reviewed its own budget, as well as those for the attorney, clerk, manager, finance department, information technology, fire, police and public health.
Yet to be reviewed are budgets for the library, museum, Ted Ferry Civic Center, engineering, cemetery, streets, building maintenance, solid waste, wastewater, and port and harbors. The next special budget meeting is set for 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 8.