Fish processors in Ketchikan will pay 35 percent more for their water each year for the next three years, following last night’s vote by the Ketchikan City Council.
The vote was 5-2 to increase rates for the three processors. They are EC Phillips, Trident Seafoods and Alaska General Seafoods. Between them, they use about half of the city’s water in their operations, and pay for about 4.6 percent of the cost.
Currently, each company is charged a flat rate of about $46,000 a year for water. By the end of the three years, they will each pay a flat rate of about $114,000 annually.
Bob Sivertsen was the only Council member who talked about the issue before the vote. He says he recognizes that the processors are important to the local economy. But, he says, costs continue to rise and the city needs to raise revenue in a way that’s fair to everyone.
The two Council members who opposed the rate hike were Julie Isom and Dave Kiffer. Voting in favor were Sivertsen, Judy Zenge, Dick Coose, Mark Flora and Janalee Gage.
Also Thursday, the City Council rejected a request from the Ketchikan High School Class of 2017 for free use of the city-owned Ted Ferry Civic Center. The students had hoped to have a post-graduation party there. Mayor Lew Williams III asked for a show of four hands to approve the request. Only three Council members raised their hands, though: Gage, Kiffer and Flora.
During public comment, the Council heard an update on the city’s first cannabis store from Stoney Moose co-owner Mark Woodward. He reports the store has collected more than $5,000 in local sales tax since it opened about a week and a half ago.
Some Council members were concerned about product coming from off the island, and whether it’s legal to transport it from as far away as Fairbanks. Woodward says his business and cultivators in other parts of the state are following rules and procedures set out by the state Marijuana Control Board.