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Leave it to Alaska’s 29th Legislature to screw up what should have been a slam dunk. (Perhaps it is 29 and a half? What exactly is the proper nomenclature when the 29th’s first session has gone to an extra session, then that extra session has been adjourned and a new extra session called so that the Legislature can legally pack up its bags and move to Anchorage before settling on a working budget?)

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Raymond Charles Hewson, 76, died May 13, 2015, in Anchorage.
Hannah Hurley, 82, died May 17, 2015, in Ketchikan.
5/8/2013
Comments coming

One way or the another, the community will comment on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and Ketchikan School District budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

The School District has prepared a $42-million budget, which includes $7.75 million it hopes to receive from the borough. The borough's own budget amounts to $45 million.

The Assembly had no comment regarding the budgets at its regular meeting Monday. But one local resident spoke against increasing the property tax rate during the citizen-comment period.

Donald Westlund says increasing the rate from 5 mills to 5.5, while property values rise, is causing great concern for property owners, particularly those barely able to cover existing taxes.

The mill rate would have to increase to 8, Assembly Member Agnes Moran extent it's allowed.

These numbers will generate comment, beginning May 20 when the Assembly meets next. With history as evidence, the schools folks will be out to the Assembly meetings then and later until the budget is finalized.

Westlund also might find he won't be alone in comments regarding the tax rate.

But every able adult will speak to the budgets. If they show up at the meeting or make a telephone call to one or all Assembly members, that's speaking up. If they do neither and nothing else, their silence speaks volumes.

Ketchikan will get the budgets for which it asks.