In the last half hour of the Ketchikan City Council’s regular meeting Thursday, council members discussed the rescheduling of a meeting to discuss the responses by two business entities to a Request for Proposals issued in October by the City of Ketchikan.
The RFP asked for plans and strategies for the redevelopment of Berths 1, 2, 3 and 4 and other infrastructure within the city.
Three responses were received to the RFP by the January deadline, and two responses were shortlisted for consideration: the local company Survey Point Holdings and globally based company Ketchikan Port Solutions.
Those companies gave presentations in August to the city council, the Port & Harbors Advisory Board and community members, outlining how they would improve, manage and finance improvements to the Port of Ketchikan.
Assistant Ketchikan City Manager Lacey Simpson explained why staff was recommending that the council meeting, originally scheduled for Sept. 10, be pushed back to Sept. 22 or Sept. 23.
That would give the financial company Piper Sandler, which the city has hired, enough time to analyze the financial proposals by the companies, as well as one drafted by the City of Ketchikan after the “best and final offers” have been submitted on Sept. 8, Simpson said.
Council Member Dick Coose asked why the date was proposed to be so far out when the process already has gone on for so long.
Simpson explained, “we have the bulk of that financial analysis. We suspect that once the best and final offers are received from the two proponents, the value that Piper Sandler is assigning to each proponent is going to shift dramatically, so we need additional time.”
She added that if a meeting was scheduled before all of the data was analyzed and conclusions were made, that the council’s time would be wasted in having to hold more than one meeting to catch up with the remaining information.
Coose said that he saw no reason for the process to be taking so long, and he explained why he saw a need for expediency.
“I think we need to keep this moving forward,” he said, “because the public — they have one side of the story. They don’t have the other side of the story and the other thing I’m worried about is, we’ve talked about having three proposals. One’s the two people from outside the city. Does the city have the capability to even put up a competitive proposal? And are we going to have one?”
Simpson said, “Are you asking about the ‘no-action alternative?’”
Coose answered, “It’s not a no-action alternative to me. The city’s gotta be competitive or we’re not doing the city folks justice. So, yes, probably the no-action alternative, but ‘no action’ really just means we have to be prepared for the next 20 years and our business plan, to do what they would be doing, so that we’d get what we need out of it, too.”
City Finance Director Bob Newell stepped to the podium to assure the council that a draft plan of the city’s proposal for port development had been finished that day, and would be sent Friday to Piper Sandler for analysis alongside those of Survey Point Holdings and Ketchikan Port Solutions.
Council Member Sam Bergeron asked, “Is our financial analysis going to look at our plan for the validity and the effort that we’ve put forward?”
He added, speaking of the city retaining management of the port, “If we want to see the ‘Yeah, we want to continue to run it,’ plan, not just ‘Nah, this is what it would look like if we just kept going,’ so I want you to know that, I’m going to be looking for that and I think others on the council will as well.”
Coose asked if, while waiting for a new meeting date to be set, council members could receive copies of the draft proposal by the city created by the finance office. Simpson agreed that copies would be supplied to the members.
City of Ketchikan Mayor Bob Sivertsen said that a date for the meeting would be set at the next regular council meeting on Sept. 17.