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12/3/2012
Assembly revisits Whitman

By NICK BOWMAN

Daily News Staff Writer

The $2.5 million grant for the Whitman Lake hydroelectric project is coming before the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly again at its 5:30 p.m. meeting on Monday.

The Assembly will decide whether to appropriate the funding for the grant at the meeting. It will vote on the grant itself on Dec. 17.

Hatch and Associates estimated the project would cost $14.4 million, but in early August the lowest bid the city received, which came from Dawson Construction, was $25.7 million.

In late October, City Manager Karl Amylon suggested the Ketchikan City Council scrap the project and cut its losses.

Assembly members authorized the city’s grant application on Nov. 19 after cost-reduction efforts by the City of Ketchikan and contractors Hatch and Associates and Dawson Construction failed to significantly reduce the funding required to construct the project.

The funding would come from the $8.7 million economic development fund, and will be used to cover the $2.5 million shortfall in the city’s funding to pay for the project.

Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst currently is negotiating the terms of the grant with the city, and he said the discussions have been "fruitful."

"We’re trying to make (the grant) as simple and constructive as possible," he said.

The Assembly also will decide whether to appropriate $162,776 in state grant funding for the extension of utilities near the Ketchikan airport intended to support future commercial space.

The utilities include an increase in water volume to the sewer lift station, car wash and a fire hydrant. S & S General Contractors would perform the construction.

The funding for the work would come from a $750,000 legislative grant awarded in 2006 to upgrade water and sewer at the airport.

Also on Monday, a public hearing is set for ordinance that relaxes borough zoning restrictions on float plane facilities and maintenance. The proposed amendment would allow float plane facilities to be used conditionally in General Commercial, Light Industrial and Public Lands and Institutions zones. Aircraft maintenance would be a principle use in the Airport Development Zone and a conditional use in the Heavy Industrial Zone.

The amendment is designed to provide a public review process for float plane facilities in the proposed zones and to clarify that aircraft maintenance can take place in Heavy Industrial and Aircraft Development zones, according to the borough.

The Assembly will decide whether to adopt a reformatted version of the borough code of ordinances on Monday. The reformatting process, according to the borough, is intended to make the code as efficient and streamlined as possible.

Also on Monday, the Assembly will vote on appointments to the ad hoc animal protection committee. Committee appointments were first considered on Sept. 17, but were postponed to Monday’s meeting.

The committee will consist of one Assembly member, two Ketchikan Humane Society members, two borough citizens, the director of animal protection and the borough manager or his designee. The proposed members are Heather Muench and Gretchen Moore as Humane Society members, Roseann Lunch and Terry Richardson as citizen members and Assembly Member Alan Bailey.

There will be time for public comment near the beginning of the 5:30 p.m. Monday meeting.