How and whether to tax retail marijuana within the City of Ketchikan is up for discussion during Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council meeting.
In a memo to the Council, City Attorney Mitch Seaver writes that the city could impose an excise tax or simply increase the sales tax rate for pot sales.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough collects sales tax for the city, but is not necessarily obligated to collect excise taxes that the city imposes. Therefore, Seaver writes, if the Council opts for an excise tax, the city might have to pay to collect it.
Seaver writes that the City and Borough of Juneau’s assembly is having a similar discussion, and is considering a differential sales tax, as well.
The State of Alaska will impose its own excise tax on marijuana cultivation facilities of $50 per ounce, an equivalent of about 10 percent of the retail value. Taxes on retail sales are up to individual communities.
Also Thursday, the Council will consider ratifying a new contract for Ketchikan Public Utilities employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The previous contract expired at the end of 2014.
The proposed three-year contract is retroactive to the start of last year. It calls for no pay raises that year, although each represented employee would receive a $500 cash bonus.
In the second year of the contract, which is this year, union members would receive a 2.5-percent raise. Another 2.5-percent raise would be scheduled for next year.
According to the city, the overall contract would cost the city about $633,000 more than current expenses.
An executive session is scheduled in case Council members want to discuss the agreement before voting on it.
Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.