tobacco smoke

Voters throughout the Ketchikan Gateway Borough not only will choose Borough Assembly and School Board members next week, they also will decide two tax issues.

Ballot Proposition 1 asks voters whether the borough should implement a tobacco tax of $2 per pack of cigarettes, or 50 percent of the wholesale price of other tobacco products.

The tax would be collected at the wholesale level, not at the point of sale, according to the proposition. The tax would be in addition to current sales taxes.

At current rates of tobacco use in Ketchikan, borough officials estimate the tobacco tax will News Tilegenerate $800,000 a year. Most of that – about 85 percent – would go to the schools reserve fund. The rest would be designated for tobacco cessation, prevention, health and education programs.

Ballot Proposition 2 asks voters whether the borough should extend the half-percent school capital project sales tax another five years.

That tax was approved by voters in 2004 to pay for bond debt related to school improvement projects. Under the current language, the tax expires in 2022.

Borough officials want to extend that expiration date to 2027. The school district has identified additional major maintenance projects, according to borough information, and state reimbursement for already completed school facility projects has been cut.

The proposition states that if the half-percent sales tax is not extended, the school bond fund will run out of money before existing debt has been paid off. The borough would have to make up for that with other taxes, such as an increased mill rate, according to the proposition.

The local election is Tuesday, Oct. 4th.

Click the links for earlier reports on candidates running for Ketchikan School Board, Ketchikan Borough Assembly and Ketchikan City Council.