Elected officials in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough are considering a pay increase for themselves. But before that happens the public would have a chance to weigh in later this month.
An online memo from the borough clerk, Kacie Paxton, says the mayor and seven assembly members have had their compensation frozen for more than 20 years.
“Staff originally drafted this ordinance in early 2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic began,” Paxton wrote. “Because of the economic impacts to the Borough created by the pandemic, this ordinance was not brought forward at that time.”
The proposal would double Borough Mayor Rodney Dial’s $500 monthly stipend to $1,000. Assembly members currently receive $150 a month. That would increase to $500.
Elected officials also receive $75 per meeting. That would remain unchanged, under the draft ordinance to be introduced on Monday (April 4).
A similar proposal was floated in early 2020. But the onset of the coronavirus pandemic led the assembly to shelve the idea.
Borough staff compiled a comparison of other local governments’ compensation in Alaska. It says that since 2007, Ketchikan’s city officials have received $300 per regular meeting, plus an expense allowance. That’s still less than the compensation set by Ketchikan’s borough assembly in 1999.
If adopted, the raises for Ketchikan borough elected officials would cost just shy of $60,000 annually. That’s a little more than the $20,000 that’s in the budgeted. If the ordinance progresses on Monday, it would go to an April 18 public hearing before going to a vote. The raises would go into effect in late October – after the municipal election.