Ketchikan’s Welcome Arch on Mission Street. (KRBD file photo)

Ketchikan’s City Council is set to approve a $67 million budget for next year.

The proposed budget to be finalized on Thursday is relatively flat compared to the spending plan for the year before. But to balance out it’ll rely on an increase in property taxes that’s yet to pass the council. The projected half-mill increase to $7.10 per $1,000 of assessed value would cost the owner of a $350,000 home an extra $175 per year. The city has a July deadline to set its property tax rate for the next year.

A handful of city jobs are left vacant in the budget for the coming year. One firefighter position is slated to remain open for 2022. The budget also leaves the Ketchikan Public Library short one assistant. And one plant manager job at Ketchikan Public Utilities’ telecom division would remain unfilled.

And even after the City Council made roughly half a million in cuts to the first draft of the spending plan, the general fund would spend about $3 million more than it takes in. The general fund pays for most city services, including things like first responders, street maintenance, the public library and the two city-run museums.

But that’s about it for the bad news in the budget.

The city is projecting to receive some 800,000 cruise ship passengers at Ketchikan’s city-owned cruise ship docks. Some 1.4 million cruise passengers are expected to visit the community in 2022, including those docked at a privately-owned Ward Cove terminal outside of the  city limits. That means officials are expecting more revenue, both from sales taxes and per-passenger fees for cruisers disembarking in town.

And that’ll allow Ketchikan’s police department to be fully funded in the new year, allowing the city to hire three more officers. Those positions had been left vacant as the city grappled with an enormous drop in revenue from cruise ship passengers. The fire department would also fill one open firefighter job.

The city would also be able to hire two public works engineers and a street maintenance technician, plus a part-time employee for Ketchikan’s city-owned museums.

The City Council is also set to approve a nearly $48 million budget for Ketchikan Public Utilities. KPU is city-owned but not city-financed — it’s funded by revenues from electric, water and telecom customers.

Ketchikan’s City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. The meeting is broadcast on local cable channels and live-streamed at the city’s website. The public has a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting.