SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


by Ken Bylund


June 17, 2009

Thanking Mr. Damstedt, for Wednesday's, June 17th article in the Ketchikan Daily News titled, 'Pool bond vote moves forward'. If anyone missed it, more recommended reading! In the end, it appears everyone in the borough will be paying for a $23.5 million bond [loan] for the next thirty years. The cost [for us] will be $23,500,000 [23.5 million] + 15% contingency [~$3,500,000] -- double this in interest, ~ fifty million USD [$50,000,000] for a swimming pool that roughly 500 people out of the entire population of our borough... will enjoy. How does this meet any standard of providing for the general welfare of the community?

Most interesting, in Mr. Damstedt's article, is that the Borough Pool Committee, the Mayor, and Assembly Members, are talking together with the borough's attorney, and borough's bond counsel, on how to word the ballot so as to best sway the vote in favor of it passing! "Can they say, the bond will be paid with existing recreational sales tax?" The borough attorney says, "he believes that the bond counsel will advise against specifying the tax because the "full faith credit and resources of the borough" would be pledged to pay back the bonds.

This means, property taxes, even special sales taxes, for the entire borough... POW? The borough recently lowered our mil rate to 6 mils, or $6.00 per thousand of accessed value... excellent! Looking in the KDN classifieds, we should expect assessments to come down too, as we are seeing so many PRICE REDUCED, NEW LISTINGS, and [related?] pages of FORECLOSURES. And we are about to be snookered into voting for a bond that will, as Assembly Member Glen Thompson said so succinctly, who will be responsible for paying for the new pool, "In reality, the whole farm is mortgaged." That's us... every one of us!

We would all like to see a new pool; no argument; that's not the issue. But to say, it is justified because children will drown as a result of not having swimming lessons, is like saying we need to spend $50,000,000 more on driver's training, etc. Think that would stop the occasional tragedy of a teenager driving too fast to make that turn? No! Just a bit of truth to illustrate an argument that is flawed to the point of absurdity. The real argument should be, how to solve the problem of financing a pool that less than 5% of the borough will ever see the inside of? And that will likely be condemned long before 30 years, when it will finally be paid off.

That borough leaders, are speculating, on how to sell this disaster to voting tax payers... is stunning! A recreational tax, special sales tax, property tax... maybe a Pool Fee, on all of the residents of the borough. We are "the farm" that you are about to bet. Not against a swimming pool, to be specific, am against the long term and end results of this suicidal bond... what are you thinking? So, thank you, Mr. Damstedt, hope you don't get fired for getting that EXCELLENT article past the editor! Good work!

Ken Bylund,
North Point Higgins
Ketchikan, AK

Related Article:

Pool bond vote moves forward (Subscription Required)
Ketchikan Daily News:


Received June 17, 2008 - Published June 17, 2009


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Ketchikan, Alaska