The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Tuesday will consider a resolution supporting efforts by the state and its Congressional Delegation to transfer the Tongass National Forest from federal control to the State of Alaska.
The resolution was placed on the agenda at the request of Assembly Member Glen Thompson. In his sponsor statement, Thompson writes that the Tongass Transfer and Transition Act would provide a mechanism for such a transfer of ownership.
The resolution states that the president of the United States has “demonstrated that he will utilize executive orders to put Alaska’s natural resources off limits to all Alaskans.”
The resolution also states that federal agencies under the current president exhibit “a history of total capitulation to the efforts of extreme environmental groups to close down all timber harvesting activities in the Tongass National Forest.”
Also on Tuesday, the Assembly will consider a four-hands request from Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst asking for authorization for Mayor David Landis to write letters to the governor and Ketchikan’s legislators expressing concern that Ketchikan’s share of the state cruise passenger head tax might be reconsidered.
Ketchikan’s city and borough governments each get a chunk of the CPV tax proceeds to help pay for infrastructure needs related to tourism activities. The state finance report was drafted in response to Alaska’s fiscal crisis, and calls for reconsidering Ketchikan and Juneau’s inclusion in the proceeds because those communities charge their own head tax.
The City of Ketchikan charges a head tax, but Ketchikan’s borough does not. The report did not indicate whether it was referring to the city, the borough or both. The report estimates the state could receive about $13.5 million more if Juneau and Ketchikan were removed from the program.
The Assembly is meeting Tuesday rather than Monday, because of the Presidents Day holiday. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers, with public comment at the start of the meeting.