The Ketchikan City Council has a full agenda for its regular meeting on Thursday. One of the items to be considered is a first reading of an ordinance that would increase water rates for all customers.
The city’s water rate increase has changed several times over the past few months, primarily because fish processors complained that the earlier versions treated their industry unfairly.
The ordinance now on the agenda would raise water rates for residential customers by 4 percent, and for fish processors by 8 percent. Bulk water haulers also would see an increase: 16 cents more than they currently pay per thousand gallons.
City Finance Director Bob Newell writes in a memo that the latest version of the water rate increase would bring in about $127,000 more for the city’s water division. If approved, it would mean a monthly increase from $46.34 to $48.19 for residential customers; and a seasonal increase for fish processors from $19,856 to $21,445.
Fish processing plants use significantly more water than any other customer category. Some city officials have said they want to move toward metering that industry.
Another item on the agenda is a request from the Ketchikan Medical Center construction project manager, Layton Dawson Joint Venture Constructors. They want to use the construction manager’s contingency to pay previously unbudgeted state prevailing wage rates for the steel erection work.
The subcontractor, Sure Steel, Inc., forgot to include the state prevailing wage rates in its bid, and that wage rate is required for projects using state funding.
That means the budget for that portion of the project is about $450,000 short. Layton Dawson wants to use its contingency to make up that shortfall.
City Manager Karl Amylon writes that if the city approves that request, that contingency account will drop to $253,000, and construction is only 20 percent completed. Amylon also questions whether the contingency is the appropriate fund for paying that unexpected expense, rather than the construction fee.
The contingency is separate from the negotiated guaranteed maximum price for the hospital renovation construction. Amylon says contingencies are reserved for expenses related to added work or unexpected site conditions, not fixing a mistake in a bid.
An executive session has been scheduled, in case City Council members want to discuss the city’s legal options.
Also on the agenda is a request from the Ketchikan Inaugural Ball Committee for free use of the Ted Ferry Civic Center. The local inaugural ball is scheduled for March 7th, and will be the last of a series of inaugural celebrations for Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
According to the city, the Ted Ferry Civic Center normally would charge about $1,600 for such an event.
Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.