RE: The Crisis at WaterfallBy Dan Bockhorst
September 07, 2018
Regarding Austin Otos’ September 3 letter to the Editor, it’s best not to create false expectations. Mr. Otos indicates that the “Ketchikan Gateway Borough could allocate money from PILT (payment in lieu of taxes)” to construct a $1 million water tank to enable the North Tongass Fire Service Area to provide better fire protection past the Waterfall bridges.
In other venues, Mr. Otos has indicated the same PILT money could be used to boost the Borough’s annual funding for education.
Clearly, the North Tongass water tank is sorely needed. Also, an additional $1 million for education annually would be useful for School District purposes. These might include resolution of the deadlock in the collective bargaining efforts between the School District and the teachers.
However, some may not understand the effects of Mr. Otos’ suggested uses of the PILT funds. PILT monies are areawide funds used to provide services to all residents of the Borough. Allocating areawide funds for the exclusive benefit of one of the Borough’s twelve service areas would almost certainly create a demand from other areas of the Borough for similar funding for worthy projects and services. These include the Borough’s other eleven service areas, the City of Ketchikan, the City of Saxman, and other parts of the Borough such as the area served by the Mountain Point sewer system.
An even greater issue is that PILT funds have long been appropriated to the Borough General Fund. Examples of General Fund services include the aquatic center, recreation center, buses, animal control, and general government. If the PILT funds are diverted for other purposes, General Fund services must be cut by $1 million or taxes must be raised by $1 million to replace the funds diverted from the General Fund.
Paid for by Dan Bockhorst, 3962 Big Rock Road, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
About: Dan Bockhorst is a candidate for the Ketchikan Borough Assembly
Received September 07, 2018 - Published September 07, 2018
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