The Ketchikan City Council meets in regular session Thursday, and among the items on the agenda is discussion of new rules regarding hawking outside downtown businesses; a second reading of an ordinance increasing water rates; and a resolution supporting the concept of transferring the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest to state ownership.
The Tongass Transfer resolution is similar to one approved Tuesday by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly. It was placed on the Council’s agenda by Dick Coose, a retired forester. The resolution states that Alaska is the “best choice to be most sensitive to the ecologic and economic needs of all Alaskans, including residents of Southeast Alaska.”
The resolution references the failed Tongass Transfer and Transition Act, submitted to Congress by Rep. Don Young in 1995.
The hawking issue came up last year when some downtown shop owners complained that other stores were using heavy-handed techniques to lure customers into their shops.
City Attorney Mitch Seaver looked into rules other Alaska communities have put in place. In a memo to the Council, he writes that Juneau and Skagway restrict commercial solicitation to private property within an enclosed space – not on a public sidewalk or the area directly outside a shop door. He writes that Ketchikan could enact similar restrictions.
The water rate ordinance has been before the Council many times, but this should be the last time for this budget cycle, if it’s approved. The ordinance calls for raising rates by 4 percent for most customers; and by 8 percent for fish processors.
Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will he heard at the start of the meeting.