A proposal to create a separate salary schedule for some Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications positions is in front of the Ketchikan City Council on Thursday.

The proposal would separate KPU-Telecom management and engineering employees from the overall city and KPU salary schedule, allowing for immediate raises in compensation offered to those positions, some of which have been vacant for months.

According to a memo from City and KPU General Manager Karl Amylon, the city asked consultants Ralph Andersen and Associates to review the city’s compensation for those vacant positions. The review shows that what the city is offering is not competitive.

KPUTelecom, while publicly owned, is operated as a business and must compete with other telecommunication companies in Ketchikan. In his memo, Amylon writes that there are plans for improvements that will require skilled engineers.

The proposed separate salary schedule would cost the city an additional $220,000 a year for salary and benefits.

Also Thursday, the council will hear from Randy MacGillivray of Ucore Rare Metals, Inc., about that company’s proposed rare-earth processing facility in Ketchikan. The company recently received a letter of support from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority regarding the company’s use of state loans to build the plant.

Ucore hopes to start operations by 2020. It has selected two parcels of land off North Tongass Highway for the facility.

The council has four executive sessions planned at the end of Thursday’s meeting. One is to discuss a proposed purchase or lease of the old fire station on Main Street. The interested party hopes to create a distillery at the site.

The other executive sessions are to discuss potential litigation regarding Vigor Alaska’s performance of the Berth 3 barge overhaul; KPU employee retention and compensation; and KPU investment strategies.

Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in city council chambers at City Hall. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.