The Ketchikan City Council sped through a full agenda Thursday, completing everything in about 90 minutes, including an executive session.
The closed-door meeting allowed Council members to talk about legal options related to a request from Ketchikan Medical Center construction project manager, Layton Dawson Joint Venture Constructors. That company wants to use the construction manager’s contingency to pay for unbudgeted state prevailing wage rates for the steel erection work.
The subcontractor 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.
The issue wasn’t discussed during the public portion of the meeting. In a memo written earlier, City Manager Karl Amylon questioned whether the contingency was the appropriate fund for paying that unexpected expense.
Amylon said contingencies should be used for expenses related to added work or unexpected site conditions, not fixing a mistake in a bid.
When the Council came out of executive session, Mayor Lew Williams III said that the city’s attorney had been given direction, and that the Council would not be taking action on Layton Dawson’s request.
Also Thursday, the Council approved a first reading of an ordinance that would raise water rates by 4 percent for residential customers and 8 percent for fish processors.
City Council Member Bob Sivertsen wanted to make it clear to the processors that the city was going to move toward metering.
“I want to make sure that there’s a firm understanding that the department and the Council have started to look at metered rate as an alternative and a fairer way of billing for our water,” he said.
Fish processors use significantly more water than other customer categories. But, other industrial customers use a lot of water, too, and Council Member Matt Olsen stressed that all industrial users will be metered.
The Council also approved 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 7, and will be the last of a series of inaugural celebrations for Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
Council Member KJ Harris cast the only vote against donating the use of the facility.
“Every time I turn around, we’re supposed to save money here, supposed to save money there,” he said. “I believe this is not state money that’s being spent for the governor’s ball, it’s all private money. I just have a real problem throwing in a couple thousand, $2,500 worth of freebies when they’ve got the money to afford going seven other places. At some point, we have to stop giving stuff away, kids.”
According to the city, the Ted Ferry Civic Center normally would charge about $1,600 for such an event.
Bob Fultz of the local Inaugural Ball Committee spoke during public comment and said the committee is working on a plan to have a fireworks display on the night of the ball. Weather permitting; the fireworks would be shot from the top of Deer Mountain. In case of bad weather, the committee will try to obtain a permit to shoot them from another location.
Also Thursday, the Council approved $333,450 in funding for the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau; and about $366,000 in grants to be shared among 17 local nonprofit agencies.