The State of Alaska has asked municipalities to submit three to five capital improvement project proposals for a federal infrastructure funding program.
So, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly submitted six.
The six projects were identified by borough and school district staff. They are a new biomass boiler for Ketchikan High School, a new roof for Houghtaling Elementary School, improvements to the South Tongass water distribution system, a water storage tank for North Tongass Fire and EMS, a paving project on Roosevelt Drive and renovation of the borough’s transit center.
Assembly Member John Harrington said he doesn’t want to limit the federal government’s choices, in case the program’s parameters are narrowed.
“We don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “The North Tongass project is a small project. If they want to throw us a few peanuts, they may decide to do that. If they want to have the infrastructure be the huge one and have pavement and water systems, we have that. I just this we need to have a smorgasbord effect to give them the option.”
Most on the Assembly agreed, although Assembly Member Glen Thompson objected to the entire program.
“It’s pork. Pure and simple,” he said. “I understand that President Trump has a desire to go out and spend a few trillion dollars that we don’t have, but there are already programs in place for a lot of these projects. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of spending money that the federal government doesn’t have.”
The list of six projects passed 6-1 with Thompson voting no.
Also Monday, the Assembly agreed to cancel the July 3 regular meeting because of the July 4 national holiday. The next regular Assembly meeting now will be July 17.