Ketchikan’s city council will review three proposals to lease the city-owned cruise ship docks to a private operator. But the city isn’t releasing details of the three competing bids.
The three proposals remain under wraps following Thursday’s City Council meeting. They could have long-term ramifications for Ketchikan’s downtown waterfront as the contract could last up to 30 years.
Ketchikan city mayor Bob Sivertsen defended keeping the details out of public view. He says he doesn’t want to put the city at a disadvantage in negotiations.
“The difficult part is the city is a governmental agency, but the business we do is really business similar to what you guys do in business,” said Ketchikan city mayor Bob Sivertsen. “And when you’re in a negotiation, you don’t want to be the guy that has all your cards up on the table when everybody else has them down and you’re trying to negotiate something.”
According to a Department of Law spokesperson, all bids submitted remain confidential until the City Council issues a notice of intent to award. That means residents don’t have a right to look at the bids until negotiations are finished.
State regulations also allow bidders to ask the city to keep “proprietary information” and “trade secrets” confidential even after the negotiating is done. The City Council will have the final say on whether to grant those requests for confidentiality.
“We will have to go through that and determine what information we can release and what information — we’ll make that decision as we go through the process,” Sivertsen said.
City manager Karl Amylon wouldn’t go on tape , but he told KRBD Friday that senior city staff — namely, himself, Assistant City Manager Lacey Simpson and City Attorney Mitch Seaver — will evaluate and summarize the proposals before presenting them to the Council.
Amylon says the City Council will discuss them in a closed-door executive session during a special meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday. He says he thinks the Council will “make every effort to release what information they can in order to make the process as transparent as possible.”
The three bids are from SSA Marine, Survey Point Holdings, and Global Ports Holding. It remains unclear how similar the competing proposals are to operate Ketchikan’s city-owned cruise ship dock for 20 to 30 years.
KRBD filed a records request for copies of the proposals Tuesday. By Friday, no additional information had been released.
City to purchase Bar Harbor Restaurant
In other business, the council voted to purchase the former Bar Harbor Restaurant property for $350,000. Council members have expressed interest in tearing down the restaurant to expand harborside parking.
Public works director Mark Hilson estimates that the building needs about $15,000 in work in asbestos abatement. It’ll then cost at least $50,000 to tear down the building. Estimates to actually expand the parking lot, though, exceed $2 million. The city hasn’t settled on a final design.
The Council also appointed Emily Chapel to the seat vacated by the late mayor and council member Lew Williams and presented a resolution honoring Williams’s decades of service.
This story has been updated with new information from the Alaska Department of Law. State attorneys say all proposals submitted are confidential until decision-makers issue a notice of intent to award a contract.