SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Fiscally Responsible Goverment
By Ed Fry


April 30, 2007
Monday PM

Dear Viewpoints and beloved residents:

Subtle signs are being shown to Ketchikan. Call me an alarmist, call me paranoid. But the fact of the matter is becoming very clear; we need to question the reality of a sustainable community.

Nordstrom has decided not to renew a contract. They are not any obligation, but an investor would look at it and say they are not getting a good return on their investment (ROI). Well the same holds true for the taxpayer paying taxes and their ROI with government services. Ask are you getting the BEST ROI for what you pay? Are you getting fair and fiscally responsible government? Are the services that you are paying for the product of responsible government?

My personal answer is no, no, and no. The Borough is plagued with poor financial decisions. Missing interest payments, paying to give a park away to the city, taking from Paul to pay Peter is just the surface! One of your own elected officials remarked on the deficit spending. It is causing the demise of the Borough. Bankruptcy, pure and simple; yes they will change the millages and the volatility will continue with greater fluctuations in the millage to compensate for lackluster planning and lackluster fiscal responsibility. If this were a corporation, heads would roll!

Some of the indicators of a sustainable community are basic, no fluctuations in a millage, increases in the government workforce that mirror the changer in residential population, and a decrease in disgruntled residents (I had to add that one, as I tell it like it is, I am not a politician and never will be!).

Sustainable communities have services that are a good ROI. Such as marine transportation, health care services, police and fire (career and volunteer), and utilities; these are necessary utilities and services. However, pulling grants and planning programs without any warrant to how to fund it after the grants end? Poor decision and not a good ROI in my opinion especially as sustainability is in question.

What I predict, and take it for what it is worth, here is a prediction (a good educated guess)

  • BIG increases in the millage to cover the deficit spending (within 2 years),
  • More special assessments as they do not fall into the Tax category and do not have to be voted on, further decreases in Borough population and an increase in the City of Ketchikan s population as passive population paradigm shifting happens,
  • More Borough homes will be part on the market as a result of the passive relocation,
  • More borough businesses will close as it becomes too expensive to businesses and residents the smaller business will close,
  • Population will further decrease, tax revenue inflows will continue to fall, the Borough will be in crisis budgeting (more than now) and layoffs will happen.

There needs some outside consulting with financial planners with expertise in public policy, of course the Borough WILL NOT CONCEEDE to this as it will ruin their crystal palace!

Taxpayers deserve fiscally responsible government at a fair price.

Ed Fry
North Tongass Resident
Ketchikan, AK

Received April 28, 2007 - Published April 30, 2007

About: "Master degree Public Administration and Master Degree Emergency Planning and administration"



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Ketchikan, Alaska