The Ketchikan City Council voted unanimously Thursday in favor of establishing a sales tax holiday on October 3rd, contingent upon the Ketchikan Gateway Borough agreeing to waive sales taxes on that day, too.
The problem is, the Borough Assembly on Monday rejected the idea.
City Mayor Lew Williams III says they probably can still make it happen.
“I know the borough voted 4-3 against it,” he said. “I think that happened two years ago and the Chamber (of Commerce) and people went and talked to them, I think we should approve this and then go talk to them and see.”
October 3rd is the first Saturday after the annual Permanent Fund Dividend is distributed to eligible Alaska residents. According to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, the intent of a sales tax holiday is to encourage local residents and people from other islands to spend that money here.
Borough Assembly members who voted against it were concerned about giving up that revenue – about $80,000 combined – during a fiscally challenging time.
During his regular report to the Council, City Manager Karl Amylon noted that the joint legislative budget and audit committee had just that day agreed to withhold distribution of state cruise passenger vessel payments to communities.
“The committee approved the state undertaking a legislative audit of how CPV funds are used across the state, and whether they potentially could better be spent in communities having greater needs,” he said. “I don’t have details about how that process is going to unfold, but I think it’ll probably start sometime in the next 12 months.”
Amylon says he expects the state will take a very close look at how various communities have used their CPV funds.
Also Thursday, the Council took no action on a request from Fight Club organizers to change a requirement that the group pay for police officers to attend the group’s events at the city-owned Ted Ferry Civic Center; approved a motion moving forward with design work for Hole in the Wall Harbor improvements; and agreed to continue involvement in the Big Thorne Timber Sale lawsuit at a cost of $3,000.
This story has been edited to correct a typographical error.