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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Re: Irregularities in Ketchikan's fiscal forecast
By Agnes Moran


August 23, 2012
Thursday AM

The Aquatic Center and the replacement generator are the two items of concern to Mr. Plute that lie in purview of the Borough. Unfortunately, Mr. Plute's letter contains many inaccuracies regarding these two projects and I would like to address those here.

Concerning the debt service for the Aquatic Center, Mr. Plute incorrectly states, 'The pool bond cost 26 million loan that will cost 52 million.' In reality the principal on the Aquatic Center bond is $23,500,000 and the interest over the thirty-year term of the bonds will be $24,311,766.80 for a total debt service of $47,811,766.80

The burden to be borne by the local taxpayers is $31,878,307.05. A combination of state and federal funds will pay the balance. No taxes were raised to fund the Aquatic Center debt service.

As far as the allegation that 'The pool has a crack in it already . . .', The pool has passed careful inspections by the Borough and the City. There are no issues involving cracks.

Mr. Plute is also incorrect in his assertion that The [Aquatic Center] contract signed also required pilings to be installed that were never constructed and the Borough is responsible for any damage as a result of this. Pilings were never contemplated on the Aquatic Center project and are not required. It is possible that he is confusing the Aquatic Center project with the Library project.

As far as Mr. Plute's assertion of what was wrong with the existing facility; it had clearly outlived its useful life. I can provide details if you wish. The Aquatic Center is the one project in Mr. Plute's list that all of the voters in the Borough had an opportunity to weigh in on. The voters of the Borough recognized the need for a new Aquatic Center when they voted to approve the bonds for the project.

Mr. Plute also voices concern in his letter about a replacement generator for $230,000 for the North Tongass Fire Station when a generator of comparable size to run City Hall is $30,000. The replacement generator and associated alarm system is destined for installation for the South Tongass Fire Station, not the North Tongass.

The $234,000 grant was initially questioned by the Borough Assembly and sent back for clarification. The assembly ultimately approved accepting the grant funds after receiving additional information about the purpose of the grant. Steve Rydeen, chief of the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, addressed the assembly's concerns as follows:

The request before the Assembly at the present time will allow us to operate the station safely and make it a suitable refuge for our citizens of the service area in times of a disaster and to continue us to provide services as a community center in the south end. With this capability we are able to function as an emergency center for our citizens. The grant to my understanding is also for the completion of our alarm system for the station. An early warning system is essential for a station this size and for the operations we conduct at the facility, as a safe refuge facility, community center, and for our members that reside here as emergency responders.

During my time on the Borough Assembly, I believe we have made a concerted effort to contain costs and maintain services while reducing our property tax rate to 5.0 mills. The Aquatic Center has been averaging over 500 users a day since it opened. Clearly the facility addressed a need in the community, as it has been well received and utilized by the community.

Agnes Moran
Ward Cove, AK

About: "Member of the Borough Assembly Aquatic Center steering committee, parent of two very waterlogged children due to the KAC"

Received August 22, 2012 - Published August 23, 2012

Related Viewpoint:

letter Irregularities in Ketchikan's Fiscal Forecast By Ed Plute


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