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By SAM ALLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
Ahead of the Ketchikan City Council Meeting Thursday night, the city reported the highest sales tax ever collected, a potential plan to sell city property and federal government dollars for power produced at the Whitman Lake Hydroelectric Facility.
City Finance Director Bob Newell submitted a report to the council for review, detailing sales taxes revenue during 2018. The city collected a record high of roughly $12.5 million in sales taxes. This is more than half a million dollars more than the previous record, set in 2017. The earnings are partially attributed to an increase of cruise ship passengers, according to the report from the finance department.
The city is looking at selling about 1,500 square feet of property at 809 Water Street, to K&B Real Estate for $53,843. With this purchase, K&B intends to square up its existing property near the pedestrian promenade, according to documents written by Ketchikan City Attorney Mitch Seaver. Public Works Director Mark Hilson and Port Director Steve Corporon both deemed the area in excess of the city’s needs. Both directors will be at the meeting Thursday to answer questions.
Jennifer Holstrom, Ketchikan Public Utilities senior project engineer, was able to secure $134,762 from the U.S. Department of Energy for power produced from the Whitman Lake hydro facility.
In the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Congress established a hydro incentive program. Holstrom applied for funding through this program for power produced by the Whitman Lake project during 2017. She received approval for payment for nearly 9.4 million kilowatt hours at about $0.0143771 per kilowatt hour.
Since 2016 KPU has received incentive payments totaling $274,210, according to a memo from Holstrom to City Manager Karl Amylon.
She says that if the federal hydro incentive program maintains its funding, the Whitman Lake project will be eligible for financial incentives through 2023.
The Ketchikan City Council, in a joint proclamation with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the City of Saxman, is recognizing March 15 as “The American Legion Centennial Day.”
The American Legion is a nonprofit wartime veterans organization that advocates for veterans and their families that was created March 15, 1919. It has about two million members and more than 12,000 posts worldwide, according to the proclamation.
American Legion Post #3 in Ketchikan was established in 1919 and holds events on Friday and Saturday nights for members.
The city will look at a motion that would allocate $5,000 from the Appropriated Reserves of the General Fund to the Public Works Building Maintenance Division’s 2019 Orphaned Buildings Technical Services account to pay for an appraisal of 319 Main Street, the site of the old city fire house.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough did a rough assessment on the building last month, but didn’t actually visit the building. The borough's assessment was $655,333. The building is currently used as storage for various city entities.
The council will look at another motion transferring $4,000 from Appropriated Reserves of the Port Enterprise Fund to the Port Department’s 2019 Travel-Business account.
This would bring the total amount being spent to send the City of Ketchikan Mayor Bob Sivertsen, two council members and three city staff members to the 2019 Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami, Florida in April to $24,76.
The City Council plans to pass a resolution recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of Doug Ward, outgoing director of shipyard development for Vigor Alaska. The city resolution thanks Ward for his years of service to the community and says Ketchikan is a better place to live because of Ward’s efforts.
The council will also look at:
• Renewing liquor licenses for Cape Fox Lodge, Oaken Keg and First City Saloon.
• Appointing Laurie Pool to the Museum Advisory Board through March 1, 2022. She is a current board member and her term is set to expire March 1 of this year.
• A memo from Ketchikan City Fire Department Chief Abner Hoage informing the council that City Fire Marshal Chris Grooms submitted his resignation effective Feb. 5, 2019. Grooms accepted a Plans Review position in Idaho.
• Reviewing and update on the planning and permitting process for the removal of the rock pinnacle in Tongass Narrows near Berth II.
There is an executive session tentatively scheduled with Survey Point Holdings Inc to discuss terms and conditions of an amendment to the Berth IV Lease Agreement. The city is currently working with Ketchikan Dock Company to modify the berth to accommodate large cruise ships for the 2019 season. Survey Point is the managing member for the Ketchikan Dock Company.
There is another executive session recommended to continue the annual evaluation of City Manager Karl Amylon.
The council meeting is at the City Council chambers at 344 Front Street at 7 p.m. Thursday. The meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment period at the start of each meeting.