By Marie L. Monyak
March 20, 2006
On April 11th, the people of the City of Ketchikan will go to the polls to vote on a bond that will have a lasting effect on our city for a long time to come. For this reason, the people, the registered voting people who LIVE in Ketchikan need to know the facts to make a well informed intelligent decision.
Hoff asked, Explain ground transportation improvements?
If Hoff were still in Ketchikan he would know the problem. Too many buses for too many tourists and limited space to park or load. There are various companies with tour buses and Hoff should know that Cape Fox Tours, as well as all the others, are taking tourists to see the Native culture he spoke about tourists wanting to see.
Hoff stated, This is a lot of money the residents cannot afford without (my correction) raising the cost of living.
FACT; The Port Bond will be paid for by port fees, wharfage fees, NOT property taxes or any other taxes from the people of Ketchikan. If the bond fails, property tax will NOT be raised to cover it, it is guaranteed.
Hoff stated, In my opinion, Council member Williams sent a threatening message.
FACT; Williams repeatedly stated in his presentation that he was in no way making a threat. He was explaining the facts. (I was there Mr. Hoff and I have this on tape.)
We have 100,000 less tourists coming to Ketchikan this summer because we do not have the dock space. As a result we will not have the same amount of sales taxes collected as in the previous year. This is simple basis economics 101. If they don t come, they can t spend or pay sales tax. Without sales tax WHERE will the funding come from that we have been using to fund our community agencies?
Hoff pointed out that tourists will come to see Native totem poles, culture and history. True, except there will be 100,000 less tourists seeing them this coming summer.
Hoff spoke of the city's current drinking water problem. Is he using a scare tactic to confuse matters much like he accused Williams of doing? The people of Ketchikan are smart enough to know these are two separate issues.
The drinking water in Ketchikan is an entirely different problem which is being resolved by the City Council and people of Ketchikan. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Voting for or against the Port Bond will not have any affect on our water woes. The funding for each problem comes from two completely separate sources.
Hoff said, These few opulent people will and are putting you in the debt if you vote yes to $38.5 million dollar debt bond.
FACT; The bond is a Revenue Bond through the Alaska Bond Bank which they guarantee, it CANNOT and WILL NOT put the people in debt.
Another FACT; In 1991 the property tax mill rate in the City of Ketchikan was 9.1. In 1996 it was 7.0 and in 2001 it went down to 6.4 and has stayed there since. Obvious downward spiral, is it not? If, like Don Hoff, you are not a property owner in Ketchikan you may not care about this but I'm thinking that the tax paying people of this city care a great deal.
If we do not make the retail sales or collect sales tax from the tourist, where would the money come from to keep our property taxes at their current level? You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
I work every summer on the cruise ship dock and selling and narrating tours. I love showing my beautiful town to the tourists, showing them our unique Native history and art and everything that Ketchikan has to offer.
I was not born in Ketchikan, have not lived here for 30 years, not 20 years, not even 15 years. I'm not a member of the alleged snob elite. I have been here just under 10 years but this is my home which I am fiercely proud of and I care deeply about the people and our way of life and I take offense at anyone who will undermine the good people of this city who are doing what is best for all.
I have the highest regards for Sitnews. I was a reader for many years before my freelance work was published by them. Dick and Mary Kauffman have provided a wonderful forum for the people of Ketchikan, Ketchikan ex-patriots and residents of the world to air their opinions and speak their mind. It is sad when one takes advantage of this forum to say they are speaking their "opinion" when in fact they repeatedly misrepresent other people and distort the truth.
I urge the voting public to do whatever is necessary to understand the port bond before April 11th and remind everyone you know to get out and vote.
Marie L. Monyak
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.