Three resolutions that will be sent to state lawmakers were approved Tuesday by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly.
The resolutions oppose moves to cut state spending on public schools and moves to shift the cost of public employee pensions to local governments. They also call for maintaining revenue sharing of cruise passenger head tax funds, funding the Alaska Marine Highway System, and continuing efforts to limit or eliminate the Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest.
One resolution also establishes the borough’s list of capital projects that will be submitted in hopes of receiving state funding.
Rep. Dan Ortiz spoke during public comment, and told the assembly that some of the capital projects on the list look familiar. Even though the items haven’t been funded in the past, Ortiz says the capital projects list and other resolutions from the community are useful to his work.
“These are all important things and important ways that local communities get assisted and partner with the state,” he said. “I’ll certainly advocate for those things to continue. It’s good that I have the support and the resolutions that I can show when I go to the floor, in my caucus meetings and things like that.”
The only resolution that included any discussion was the capital projects funding request list. Assembly members talked about whether to move $400,000 in bus stop safety improvements higher on the prioritized list, and whether $500,000 for security cameras at Ketchikan High School was important enough to be in second place.
Schools Superintendent Beth Lougee told the assembly that the first year of the security cameras project would cost about $50,000. She says the remainder of the funding could wait.
The assembly chose to place bus stop improvements at No. 2, and Kayhi security cameras at No. 7. Other projects on the list include school and road projects, airport maintenance and reconstruction of Walker Field.
Assembly Member Judith McQuerry questioned whether the borough would receive any capital project funding at all.
“I don’t think this is going to be a year when we’re gonna get anything,” she said. “But you don’t get if you don’t ask, so I think we need to ask.”
The borough’s list, along with lists from the City of Ketchikan and City of Saxman, will go to the local Lobbying Executive Committee. That committee will choose a few priority projects for submission to the governor’s office.
All of the items on all three lists later will be entered into the Legislature’s project database, in prioritized order.
Tuesday’s assembly meeting was quick, lasting about an hour. The next borough assembly meeting is Sept. 16.