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Ketchikan assessment headaches
By John Harrington


January 19, 2007
Friday PM

As a Ketchikan Borough Assembly member I need to respond to some of the comments on the increase in assessed valuation. Actually this year's huge increase in assessments is a major problem for the Borough Assembly. I believe that Dan McQueen voiced what many believe, that is that the huge assessment increase "is just another Back-door attempt to raise taxes". I wish it were true. Reality is actually much worse!

1. It is worse because the assessed valuation is one part of school funding - any increase in assessed valuation shifts part of the funding away from the state on to the locals. I do not have the exact dollar amounts yet, but it looks like we will lose $300,000 in state funds because of the increase.

2. It is also worse because it makes the process of governance more difficult. Like every year, there are several major problems facing the Borough. (Finishing Schoenbar, and finding a way to pay for it; helping the city lobby for the intertie, finding a way to get out of the dump we call an office building and into new quarters without costing the citizens, etc) You get my point we have problems, but this assessment increase angers, many of you and increases your suspicions of us, and when you are angry and suspicious you unfortunately remember every damned thing we ever did wrong. It keeps me humble, but makes the job harder.

So what am I going to do?

1. I have asked the Borough Manager and the Finance Director to prepare information so we can show actual comparisons. (This year's mil rate is 7.2; using the new assessment what would the mil rate need to be to raise that amount of dollars, probably about 6.5 mils. When that benchmark mil rate is set, it will allow you to see what we are actually doing to the tax rates.

2. Several folks have already begun discussing a Fairbanks-style initiative campaign to limit the amount of taxes. To avoid that I am hoping that the assembly can do one of two things. Either establish a mil rate that the community in general approves of, or present a ballot measure to the voters so you can have a say on the level of taxation that is acceptable to you.

If you have any thoughts or ideas every Borough Assembly Member's email is available online at , (just don t look at the pictures. They are awful).

John Harrington
Ketchikan, AK

Received January 19, 2007 - Published January 19, 2007

About: "Just one borough assembly member who wants to take off his bullet-proof vest some time this year."


Related Viewpoints:

letter TAX GLUTTONS By Ken Bylund - Ketchikan, AK

letter DON'T OVER-TAX KETCHIKAN'S CITIZENS! By Dan McQueen - Ketchikan, AK



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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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