SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


No Friend of the Taxpayers
By Sam Bergeron


June 28, 2010
Monday PM

The City Council is no friend of Ketchikan's taxpayers.

Council wants to spend $12,000,000 on a 16,000 square foot library $750 a square foot! That is a big number -- too big.

Council has already begun to spend before the August 24 election when voters will decide where to locate the library. On Friday the Council had a hasty noon meeting and approved:

A $50,000 option payment for a Copper Ridge site.

A $680,000 purchase price for that site.

These items are the tip of the iceberg: An engineer estimated $200,000 for geotechnical STUDIES to define subsurface conditions on the Copper Ridge site. The site's unknowns like possible non-structural fills and hazardous materials will be the taxpayers' problem.

Clearly, we can save nearly $1,000,000 on this project by using property the City already owns. We can save the cash and apply the value of City-owned property as match for the 50/50 State grant the library is eligible for.

In addition to disregarding costs, Council wants to locate the library in a rock pit remote from visitors, so we can't use the Commercial Passenger Vessel (CPV) tax to help fund its construction and operations. We could use those funds if the library were accessible to cruise passengers. The Copper Ridge site will not be eligible for CPV funds, it's too far away. Ketchikan's taxpayers will pay for this lost opportunity by bearing the full cost of a new library in an inaccessible rock pit.

A better choice is keep the library downtown, save millions of dollars by keeping it on property we already own, on an accessible location where CPV funds can share its costs. Now it's time for Council to start making sense and save Ketchikan taxpayers' money. That is a better choice for those of us who are bearing the cost of this library project and its operational costs as well. See you at the polls.

Samuel Bergeron
Ketchikan, AK

About: "I'm a citizen, taxpayer and life-long Alaskan who has had it with bad decisions that can't be dealt with in the next election."

Received June 25, 2010 - Published June 28, 2010


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