The Ketchikan City Council Thursday night approved, in second reading, an ordinance banning intentional feeding of eagles.
The ordinance originally included seagulls, ravens and crows, but council member Bob Sivertsen proposed an amendment.
“I’m almost to the point that I would ask that we amend this and remove the crows, ravens and gulls out of this because that’s not the issue. That’s not the problem we’re having. And even when I spoke with the police department, their concern was for public safety. It wasn’t about anything else. It was the fact that they could endanger an unknowing person in regards to a type-A predator bird.”
The amendment passed unanimously.
Council member Julie Isom proposed a second amendment that would limit the ban to the cruise ship season, April through September. Council member Mark Flora agrees violations are more likely to occur during the summer season, but the problem isn’t limited to that timeframe.
“My support for this ordinance up to this point has been public safety and the habituation of wildlife. I think Mr. Thomas (who testified earlier) made some excellent points tonight. But I think when it comes to the public safety aspect, we need to do the right thing and move forward on this.”
That amendment failed 5-2 with Isom and Janalee Gage voting in favor.
The amended ordinance, banning only intentional feeding of eagles, passed 6-1 with Isom voting no. The ordinance will go into effect in 30-days.
There was discussion on restricting the use of fireworks within the city. Mayor Lew Williams III expressed concern with people using mortar-type fireworks, endangering lives and property. City Attorney Mitch Seaver says, to his knowledge, there currently isn’t any code to address this. Several council members, including Dave Kiffer, say this too is a public safety issue and has experienced fireworks landing on his home.
“I’m not sure, in the issue of public safety, I need to be standing on my roof with a hose trying to save my house from an idiot neighbor who thinks it’s his right to fire off everything he wants because we can’t ban it here, we can’t enforce it and we can’t come up with anything that says you shouldn’t do that. If he’s firing a gun at my property, that’s illegal.”
The council directed staff to propose options on how to address the issue.
The council considered a budget transfer to hire consultants to update the city’s compensation plan. Flora does not believe staffing issues will be solved solely with money.
“We’ve already started down this road. We have a human resources department. We have some information at hand. The IBEW gave us some information at hand. And it would seem to me it’s in the best interest of the city if we dig into this and have the HR department take a whack at this first before we go and spend $57,500.”
The council voted 5-2 against hiring consultants, with Siversten and council member Dick Coose voting in favor. Staff was directed to look at a study that was completed in 2014 and other documentation to determine if additional information is needed.
Also Thursday night the council voted unanimously to move forward with an application for a state Community Development Block Grant for renovation of the city-owned former Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility. Women in Safe Homes plans to convert the building into an emergency shelter. WISH’s current facility is about 100 years old and in constant need of repair.
The next regular meeting of the Ketchikan City Council is October 4th.