Two items related to tobacco are in front of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Monday.
The first is a public hearing and second vote on an ordinance that would indefinitely extend the boroughwide tobacco tax. The tax currently is due to expire in 2021.
If approved, the tax extension still needs to go in front of voters this fall for ratification. The borough’s tobacco tax revenue is dedicated to public education funding. It has generated about a million dollars for local schools.
The second item is a proposal to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products within the community from 19 to 21. The proposal first came to the Ketchikan City Council through a member of the public, and was referred to the city and borough’s Cooperative Relations Committee.
Committee members agreed to forward the idea to the assembly for direction. A concern noted in the agenda statement was how such a law could be enforced. The state’s legal age to purchase tobacco is 19, so enforcement would be up to local authorities.
Also Monday, the assembly will consider a contract with the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council to develop a new flag for the community of Ketchikan. The proposal calls for spending about $6,500 total, shared between the city and the borough. The money would be used for marketing and promotion, artist fees, administrative costs and printing the chosen design.
The Arts Council proposes setting up a table during the Aug. 3rd Blueberry Arts Festival to kick off the process.
Monday’s assembly meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in borough assembly chambers at the White Cliff Building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.
This report was edited to make a correction.