Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly on Monday is slated to consider budgeting a combined $673,000 to raise staff salaries, in line with recommendations from consultants who said the borough underpaid its workforce. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. was contracted to conduct the compensation study in 2019 and presented it to the Assembly in 2020. But after a pandemic-fueled drop in borough revenue, assembly members put plans to implement the new pay scale on hold.
At its August 2, 2021 meeting, the Assembly directed staff to begin implementing the plan. A budget ordinance is the first step. Other steps include obtaining Letters of Agreement with unions, a resolution adopting the pay plan, updating job descriptions and updating the payroll system. Those will come later.
If passed Monday, the ordinance will come back for a public hearing and final approval at the Assembly’s September 7 meeting.
A code amendment related to the compensation study is also up for vote Monday night. Current pay scales include 1.5% increases between steps and 1.5% increases between grades. According to a memo by Borough Finance Director Cynna Gubatayao, one consequence of the current system is that the current pay scale has many unused grades.
The pay grades proposed by Gallagher & Co. also have 1.5% increases between steps and grades but no unused grades. Gubatayao writes that the proposed code amendment does not invalidate current pay grades and allows for the use of the new grades. She writes this would allow a smooth implementation and transition to the new scales.
Also Monday night, the assembly is scheduled to hear public input and take a final vote on a $6.7 million bond measure to pay for upgrades and reconfiguration of some of Ketchikan’s public ball fields. The loan would pay for upgrades including artificial turf and other improvements at Norman Walker Field near Schoenbar Middle School and Drency Dudley Fields near Ketchikan High School. If approved Monday night, the bond will come before borough voters at the October 5th municipal election.
The assembly is considering whether to declare October 9, 2021 a sales tax holiday. Declaring the first Saturday after Permanent Fund Dividend checks are issued a tax holiday has been a tradition since 2010. The amount and timing of this year’s PFD remains uncertain as lawmakers gear up for a special legislative session in Juneau.
Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in its chambers in the White Cliff Building. The meeting will be televised on the KPU local channel and live-streamed on the Borough website. Should a problem occur with the live stream, video will be uploaded to the Borough website the day after the meeting. Public comment will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.