With Ketchikan’s education fund account running a deficit for several years, Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly will hold a work session during its regular meeting Monday night to explore ways to fill the $1 million gap.
Borough Finance Director Cynna Gubatayao says the borough considered several options which were not pursued by the assembly, including rolling back sales tax breaks for hotels and flightseeing companies, and raising a seasonal sales tax to take advantage of the tourist season.
The finance department is proposing four new options: cutting discretionary local funding to the school district, increasing the property and tobacco taxes, as well as new taxes on things such as rental cars and other amenities.
In other business, the assembly will consider introducing an ordinance extending a 5% area-wide special sales tax on marijuana products. The tax is set to expire at the end of 2022. If the assembly wants to extend the tax, staff plans to prepare a voter pamphlet for the assembly to review at its September 6 meeting. Extension of the tax requires voter approval.
Two public hearings are also scheduled for Monday. The first is to consider an ordinance appropriating $1.3 million in grant funding for the purchase of two 35-foot buses and completion of the Transit Center Renovation Project. The grant requires a 20 percent local match which will come from Cruise Passenger Vessel tax and grant funds dedicated to the transit budget.
And finally, the assembly is taking steps to accept grants for COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration as well as improving the North Rainbird Trail.
The assembly will also be asked whether to award a sole-source contract worth $125,000 to Vigor’s Ketchikan shipyard to repair the M/V Oral Freeman airport ferry.
The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Borough Assembly Chambers at the White Cliff Building. It is also live streamed on the borough website and available through local cable channels.
This post has been updated to clarify information.