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Ketchikan's elected leaders are doing what is expected though it is not perceived as widely occurring by the public.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voiced its support for the City of Ketchikan's Whitman Lake Hydroelectric Project at its Monday meeting.
Ketchikan's City Council faced the question last week of whether to proceed with the project. Council members responded by directing management to continue despite a $2.5-million shortfall.
Assembly Member Glen Thompson pointed out that the borough has $8 million in its economic development fund and suggested that the borough consider a grant to the city.
This move will at least generate more discussion, and, provided all borough questions are answered, a financial boost the city needs in order to meet the March 16 federal deadline to begin building the project.
Whitman is a $26-million project. Despite efforts by prospective contractors to engineer a more economical alternative, the closest bid exceeded that figure. The city has secured only $26 million for the project, although it has spent between $3 million and $4 million in the past 15 years working toward construction. Design documents are 80-percent complete. But construction may not begin unless all funds are available.
Ketchikan needs the Whitman Lake electricity to accommodate growth and the Whitman Lake hatchery.
Electricity isn't just a city issue; it's a borough-wide one. The whole island depends upon it.
That the borough is willing to look at a grant to help the city for the benefit of the entire community is the type of cooperation the public longs to see, not just here at the local level, but in the Legislature and Congress.
Clearly, on this issue, Ketchikan operates well above its counterparts at higher government levels.