The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has a rich assortment of topics on its Monday evening meeting agenda — though not all of them are scheduled for discussion by default.
Beyond proposed actions regarding the borough's junk vehicle voucher program and a $6.6 million bond proposal for renovations to sporting fields in the borough, the Assembly will hear about the state's redistricting process and consider opening Weiss Field to more targeted leashing requirements, approving funds to buy a new fire truck cab and chassis, clarifying language in the borough's sales tax code, increasing the Ketchikan School District's spending authority by $2.1 million, allowing Assembly Member Austin Otos to attend a conference in Fairbanks in August, authorizing the borough manager to enter an agreement with the state to resume cruise ship sailings this summer and appropriating funds from the School Bond Capital Improvement Project Fund.
Near the start of Monday's meeting, the Assembly will hear a presentation from members of the Alaska Redistricting Board about how Alaska will begin to redraw its districts following the 2020 census.
John Binkley, chair of the redistricting board, will present to the Assembly with TJ Presley, the board's deputy director.
Tax code revisions
Also on the consent calendar is Ordinance 1947, which includes several revisions to the borough's tax code that would keep the borough code aligned with the Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Code, as part of the borough's participation in sales tax collection on purchases made online or remotely.
The Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Commission amended its code in February "to eradicate instances of ambiguity, bring more consistency to word usage in the Code, provide clarity by further defining certain words and phrases used in the Code, and correct several other grammatical challenges," the agenda explains.
Under the terms of the remote seller sales tax agreement, member jurisdictions must adopt changes or amendments made to the commission code within 120 days of their adoption by the commission.
"These changes, once applied, are not anticipated to meaningfully alter the applicability of the Code, and in any case of potential conflict between the Code and the Borough Code, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Code prevails," the agenda adds.
District spending authority
With 23 days left in the 2021 fiscal year, the borough will consider a request from the Ketchikan School District to increase the district's spending authority by $2.1 million. The spending authority increase would not include any additional allocation of funds from local sources.
The bulk of the relief funds necessitating the proposed increase — $1.9 million — are from the federal Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The Alaska Department of Education approved the district's application for that portion of funds on May 19.
The remaining funds are in the form of unspent funds from last year's federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and funds for testing from the Health Equity grant recently approved by the borough.
School Bond appropriation
Three portions of roadway at North Point Higgins Road in need of repair, and so borough staff are asking the Assembly to approve $65,000 in supplemental funding from the School Bond Capital Improvement Project Fund to cover construction costs.
The 2022 fiscal year fund budget already includes $50,000 for school district paving, but patch paving the hazardous portions of road is expected to cost $115,000.
"Although the FY 2022 Budget projects a current year deficit, the School Bond CIP has sufficient fund balance to support the proposed amendment," the agenda explains. "In addition, as of the drafting of this agenda item, the FY 2022 State budget includes full funding of the School Bond Debt Reimbursement Program, which would result in an additional $1 million in revenue to the fund."
The Assembly also will consider authorizing the borough manager to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to resume cruise ship operations in 2021.
Under the terms of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance for cruise ship sailings to resume — the Framework for Conditional Sailing — cruise ship operators will need to enter agreements with ports, communities and local healthcare providers in order to conduct sailings in Alaska.
"Since several port operators and municipalities (including Ketchikan Gateway Borough) do not possess public health powers, the DHSS agreed to step in to satisfy the public health requirements of the FCS," the agenda explains. "In the circumstances where the municipality does not possess port powers, the responsibility to ensure that safety plans and protocols are in place and followed will be borne by the port operators directly. In the case of Ward Cove, these obligations will be borne by the Ward Cove Dock Group."
"As presently conceived and drafted, the FCS places no specific requirements upon Ketchikan Gateway Borough," the agenda further explains. "The value of Borough involvement at this stage is to signal to the CDC that all of the stakeholders are working constructively and in a coordinated way to meet the FCS requirements such that the large-scale tourism activities may resume in Southeast (Alaska)."
Fire truck purchase
Another matter of transportation on the consent calendar is a request to let the borough manager enter an agreement with the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Purchasing Program to buy a 2022 Freightliner M2 cab and chassis from True North Emergency Equipment Ltd.
Purchase and delivery of the new fire truck would cost $485,409. It would replace North Tongass Fire Rescue 8, "a 1978 Ford Pumper that has far exceeded its useful life," the agenda explains.
The vehicle would be ready for delivery within 270 days after receipt of a purchase order, according to the agenda.
Conference of Young Alaskans
The Alaska Municipal League has invited Assembly Member Austin Otos to the Conference of Young Alaskans from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4. The Assembly on Monday will decide whether to s him travel to the Fairbanks event and authorize him as the official borough spokesperson on borough policy issues adopted by the Assembly.
No expenditure would be required for the trip. AML would cover all travel and accommodations expenses.
Once the Assembly has taken action on the consent calendar and heard from the redistricting board, it will turn its attention to a proposal to give the borough manager more freedom to manage dog waste on Weiss Field by striking a provision of borough code that allowed dogs to play off-leash there whenever the field was not reserved or in use by sports teams.
The off-leash exemption at hand was a deliberate outcome of a 2018 measure, Ordinance 1848-Substitute. The field has historically served as a dog park when not being used for adult softball, but under a separate, earlier designation, pet owners could be fined for letting their dogs play off-leash.
"Eight such leash-law violation citations were issued in 2017, leading to adoption of Ordinance 1848-Substitute," the agenda explains.
Because dog waste was still a significant issue on borough fields, Ordinance 1848-Substitute also doubled the fee for not disposing of animal waste, from $100 to $200.
"Nonetheless," the agenda notes, "staff and field users continue to encounter fecal matter, holes are dug in the field, there is little opportunity for staff to accomplish their work without interacting with others' animals, and staff has ceased using fertilizers and other lawn treatments that may have a negative effect on animals. ... The result is a facility that cannot properly be managed for its primary users: the softball players."
Thus, the Assembly on Monday will consider Ordinance 1948, which would remove the off-leash exemption from the field to allow for more targeted measures to reduce waste.
"Should Ordinance 1948 be adopted, rules of conduct will be drafted for the manager's consideration pursuant to KGBC 11.50.030(a) that will clarify times and limits on the use of Weiss Fields for off-leash exercise and conduct during maintenance activities," the agenda states. "Public feedback is encouraged and will be considered as those rules are drafted."
Monday's meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Assembly chambers at 1900 First Ave. There will be time for public comment near the start of the meeting.
Monday's meeting agenda can be read in full on the borough website at bit.ly/3pkRP2J.