The Ketchikan Gateway Borough will vote Monday on reconsideration of a proposed $3-per-pack tobacco tax. The Assembly rejected the proposal during its last meeting in a 3-2 vote, with two members absent.
Assembly Member John Harrington, who voted on the winning side, requested the reconsideration. In the official written request, he says he wants the full seven-member Assembly to vote on the issue. Assembly Member Alan Bailey seconded the motion to reconsider.
The process is to first vote on the request for reconsideration. If that passes, then the tobacco-tax motion will be up for a vote. But even if that passes, it would be just a first step. The motion would direct borough management to draft an ordinance for the Assembly to consider during a later meeting.
The Ketchikan City Council voted on June 18th to move forward with a tobacco tax. That motion was contingent upon Assembly approval of similar action. While the city could enact a tobacco tax on its own within city limits, the current proposal calls for an areawide tax.
The declared intent is to discourage new smokers – youth in particular – from starting the habit. There would be a revenue gain, as well, of an estimated $1.2 million annually. That would be divided between the city and borough, based on population.
Also on Monday’s Assembly agenda is a proposal submitted by citizen Donald Westlund to legalize the sale of fireworks within the borough. Borough staff have recommended that the issue be referred to the city-borough Cooperative Relations Committee, because the city and borough each have ordinances related to fireworks.
Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.