A summer tax hike for Ketchikan city property owners could be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ketchikan city staff are recommending nixing the July increase, even though it’ll cost the city nearly $500,000 in revenue.

Amid doubts over whether there will be a 2020 cruise season and a national shutdown that stalled the economy, City Manager Karl Amylon recommends against bringing in higher taxes. He says a city-wide hiring freeze and a reduction in capital expenses could help offset the costs.

Reversing the planned half-mill property tax increase would save an owner with a $250,000 property $125. That would help balloon the city’s general fund deficit to more than $2.5 million — leaving around $3.5 million in the city’s cash reserves.

In other business, the council will discuss refinancing its debt from building a new downtown fire station. Lower interest rates could save the city nearly $40,000 a year in interest. But whether the bond bank approves the re-fi could depend on market conditions.

Ketchikan’s city council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday via teleconference. The meeting is streamed on the city’s website, on local cable channels and the teleconferencing program Webex — meeting number 625 172 605, passcode #SocialDistance6.

Those who would like to speak during public comment can call the clerk’s office at 228-5658 prior to the meeting. Written comments can be emailed to the clerk’s office at clerk@city.ketchikan.ak.us prior to 4 p.m. Thursday.