CityofKetchikanThe Ketchikan City Council Thursday night unanimously approved four ordinances increasing water, garbage, waste water and electrical rates.

Prior to voting on the four items, council member Dick Coose noted the impact to individual rate payers.

“I admit things are in the hole and we need to deal with some shortages, but I think it behooves us to make sure we’re watching what we’re spending and that includes labor costs. The public’s got to stay on our rear ends so we don’t spend it. Otherwise you pay. It’s your costs.’

The rate increases would amount to approximately $14 per month more per customer beginning April 1st. A second vote is needed before the increases are officially adopted.

The council also heard from representatives of several non-profit organizations regarding community agency grants. Up for consideration are grants from 17 agencies totaling approximately 360,000 dollars.

During public comment, Kevin Gadsey of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition spoke on behalf of his non-profit, as well as others.

“I ask you to support the heart of Ketchikan tonight.  That’s not KWC alone. That’s all the non-profits that are requesting support from the city.”

When the item came up for vote, council member Judy Zenge expressed concern about the request from WISH – Women in Safe Homes. Zenge asked to withhold funding for that program until some questions are answered.

“It’s come to my attention that one of the agencies for this grant committee is not in good standing with their state funding agency and that they’re in fact on probation. I’m not comfortable approving funds for them at this time. I think I’d like more information, and that’s WISH. I think I’d like them to come back and explain why they’re on probation.”

No representative from WISH was on hand who could answer Zenge’s questions. The council approved the amendment seeking additional information from WISH. All other community funding recommendations were approved.

The council also considered an ordinance that would establish operating hours for commercial marijuana establishments. The ordinance amends city code so operating hours will be the same as those for bars.

The council entered into three executive sessions.  The sessions included discussion on a collective bargaining agreement between the city and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1547; a discussion on a report of a procurement agreement regarding KPU TV content; and an evaluation of performance of technical support services to the telecommunications division.

No actions were taken on any of the executive sessions Thursday night.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Ketchikan City Council is Thursday, February 18th, in City Council Chambers.