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7/15/2017
Boro to talk grant funds

By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is expected to use part of Monday’s meeting as a work session to discuss grant funding for nonprofit agencies.

During this meeting the Assembly will work on deciding how to manage and allocate community grant funding going forward. Furthermore, the Assembly may decide to create an ad hoc grant committee. This committee would consist of Assembly members and grant recipients.

On June 28, borough staff hosted a lunch session with fiscal year 2018 grant recipients and discussed what the grant process is doing right and how the grant process could be improved.

The borough also used an electronic survey to obtain opinions from 10 different grant recipients. These responses will be used by the Assembly to discuss grant money should the Assembly decide to recess to a work session and discuss the matter.

The results of the survey showed that a number of respondents (60 percent) supported using an excise tax on tobacco and/or marijuana as a revenue alternative for grant funding.

The borough has used its economic development fund to finance grants in the past, but that fund’s coffers have dwindled significantly over the past few years.

The survey also asked the question: “Should the borough wish to reconfigure its grant process, which option do you prefer?”

While 30 percent of respondents wanted to maintain the current funding process, 20 percent wanted individual amounts of nonprofit grants to be decided by a committee or outside foundation, and 30 percent supported merging the grant process with the City of Ketchikan.

When grant recipients were asked whether they thought funds were allocated fairly, 60 percent agreed while 20 percent said it was not fair. The remaining 20 percent were unsure.

If the Assembly establishes an ad hoc grant committee, as borough staff recommends, the following questions are expected to addressed:

• Should the borough develop a new process for awarding grants?

• What, if any, criteria should the borough develop to determine how available grant funding is allocated?

• How should the borough generate funds used to make grants in the future?

During Monday’s meeting, the Assembly will also:

• Decide whether to convene an executive session to review the performance of Borough Manager Ruben Duran.

• Consider the sale of surplus land, including foreclosed properties through the real estate broker services contract.

• Vote on authorizing the purchase of two trucks, one for the Wastewater Enterprise Fund and South Tongass Water Division and one for Ketchikan International Airport. Total cost would be $68,200.

• Consider approving Borough Mayor David Landis to travel to Metlakatla for its 2017 Metlakatla Indian Community Founder’s Day on Aug. 7.

Monday’s meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly chambers, 1900 First Ave.

There will be time for public comment at the beginning of the meeting.