KRBD file photo

During its regular meeting Thursday, the Ketchikan City Council rejected a proposal to share the cost of a mural of Ketchikan created last year for a Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council exhibit.

The idea first was floated at the city-borough cooperative relations committee. Members suggested the city and borough join forces to pay for the $15,000 multi-paneled mural by local artist Ricardo Burquez. The mural, which shows Ketchikan’s waterfront as seen from the Tongass Narrows, would have gone in the baggage claim area of the Ketchikan International Airport.

In a Friday interview, City Mayor Lew Williams III said Council members had some concerns about the proposal.

“Some were worried that we’re setting a precedent, we’re buying this and next, ‘Hey, well you bought that so buy this.’ There was a lot of exchange,” he said. “It looks gorgeous; it would be perfect at the airport. It’s a good idea, but at the wrong time.”

The Council also sent a resolution to Juneau expressing concern about state bills that would allow transportation network companies such as Uber to operate in the state, but would limit the power of regulating those companies to state control.

Williams said the resolution, which is similar to measures approved by other municipalities, urges the Legislature to include provisions for local regulatory control.  

“Instead of sending something against it, we just said, ‘Hey, if you’re going to pass it, make sure these home-rule communities can have their say in this, so everyone’s on the same playing field,’” he said. 

Taxi companies are regulated by local ordinance, and would be competing with any national network companies that want to enter the Ketchikan market.

Williams said the Council also agreed Thursday to not object to a liquor license renewal application for the Ketchikan Loyal Order of the Moose. The Council could have protested the license because the Moose Lodge was delinquent on sales and property taxes, but Williams says the organization now has paid its sales tax and presented a plan to pay its back property taxes.