A public hearing and second vote on an ordinance that would require South Tongass residents to hook up to the South Tongass Service Area water system is planned for Monday’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting.
The ordinance passed in first reading during the Assembly’s Oct. 19 meeting, despite reservations expressed by a majority of Assembly members. Several said they voted to move it forward only so they could hear more input from the public.
The ordinance has been recommended for approval by the South Tongass Service Area Board and by borough staff. It would require homes currently not hooked up to the water system to connect upon transfer of ownership.
There are exemptions to that rule, though, including for homes that are more than 300 feet from a water main; and for changes in ownership due to inheritance, change in marital status and sales to immediate family members.
Service area board members say the ordinance will help provide needed revenue for the water system. Individual residences that are hooked up now pay about $550 a year for the service, but the board says there aren’t enough subscribers to cover the system’s costs.
Some South Tongass residents have spoken strongly against the ordinance. They say they don’t want to hook up to a water system. They prefer their individual roof-catchment systems, which funnel rainwater into a cistern. They say they also don’t want to pay to connect their homes.
Also Monday, the Assembly will appoint a vice-mayor. The position has been held by Assembly Member Glen Thompson. It’s an annual appointment.
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, and during public hearings.