The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is planning a budget work session during its regular meeting on Monday, and on the table are a series of cuts to various departments in the borough.
According to a summary provided by borough Finance Director Cynna Gubatayao, staff and administration looked at current operations, levels of service and fee structures to eliminate an approximately $1 million deficit in the FY2018 budget.
The cuts include eliminating the legislative lobbying trip; reductions in service levels in various departments; not replacing a position at the Animal Protection Department that will become vacant this fall; reduction or elimination of some programs at the Gateway Recreation Center; and increasing fares and eliminating the April ride-free month for the bus system.
Also Monday, the Assembly will consider introducing an ordinance that would reduce public notice requirements for borough activities. That ordinance is part of the proposed budget cuts.
The borough is required under state law to publish public notices for various activities, such as Borough Assembly meetings, and the borough has always published those notices in the Ketchikan Daily News.
Some of the state-required notices must be published in a newspaper of general circulation. State law, though, doesn’t specify that meeting notices must be in a newspaper. According to the agenda statement, the borough could instead comply with state law by posting meeting notices on its website and taking advantage of free notification services provided by the newspaper, radio stations and online media.
Borough staff also could work with the local newspaper to find a less-expensive way to continue publishing notices through that service.
Also on Monday, the Assembly will vote on whether to file an objection to a new marijuana cultivation facility in Ketchikan. Chris Wilhelm has submitted an application with the state to operate Sparkle Farms Alaska on Kelly Drive in the Ward Cove area.
Monday’s meeting is scheduled to start 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.