SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Re: Deviousness, deception and consolidation
By Debby Otte


November 15, 2006

I can no longer sit and read and not respond to some of the letters urging a no vote on consolidation.

Mr. Thomas, I respect your right to your opinion, but realize that neither the City government nor the Borough government brought about this election on the issue of consolidation. The State of Alaska determined that for this election, a mail-in ballot would save them money. No one from Ketchikan had any say on the envelope design, nor were we consulted when the State decided that the voters should pay the postage. It was the State doing these things, not our local governments.

The citizens of Ketchikan voted to form a Consolidation Commission, on which I am proud to have participated for several years. We were asked to present to the Local Boundary Commission proof of the feasibility of consolidation. What that means is we developed a budget (one that did not rely on any reserves)that showed that if the two governmental entities were joined, there would be sufficient funding to operate a consolidated government. That is all that budget was...a feasibility exercise. When consolidation passes, the newly elected Assembly, with input from continuing staff, will develop a real budget for the Municipality of Ketchikan.

A lot has been said that consolidation will not realize any savings. My response is fiddle-stix! Once the year or so of transition is over, there will be further cost savings in salaries & benefits and more duplicate position are eliminated or not filled when vacated. The first year or so, most everyone's going to have A LOT OF WORK TO DO, to bring the Municipality to full efficiency, but I truly believe there will be cost savings in the long run.

This effort by the Consolidation Commission was NOT spurred by big business or special interests, and frankly, I really resent being placed in either of those categories. That is not why I ran for the Commission. I am a working person who has spent my years employed by the State, the Borough and the City and I think the community would be better off with one government. The other Commissioners all have similar backgrounds and believe me, we worked hard for the community in crafting a document that was as fair as possible to ALL the people, and not special interests.

Please let me dispel a few myths:

1. It is NOT a fact that the Troopers will leave Ketchikan if consolidation occurs. There is always that possibility, even with the two governments.
2. Nowhere in our deliberations did we discuss cutting the Senior tax exemption -- nowhere.
3. There is a likelihood that our taxes will increase, consolidated or not. Expenses are going up and either the City and Borough expend their reserves down to nothing, or the taxes are going to go up. Count on it.
4. The building inspector position and duties will remain within the Gateway Service Area (the City).

If you haven't already voted in this election, please be sure you learn the facts and not just listen to the negative rhetoric being presented by those opposing Consolidation. I will always wonder where they were in the open meeting process that was on-going for over two years.

Thanks for your consideration on this important matter. Ballots must be postmarked by November 21st.

Debby Otte
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Elected Charter Commission member and long-time resident of the City and Borough."


Information for Ketchikan Voters

Consolidation Election of the City of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Election Day is Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This Election Will Be Conducted By Mail
There will be no polling place on election day.

TO VOTE: Ballots will be mailed on Monday, October 20, 2006.
Ballots must be voted and postmarked on or before Election Day, November 21, 2006.

Related Web Sites:

Alaska Division of Elections - State-Conducted Local Elections

Ketchikan Consolidation

Ketchikan Consolidation Commission
(Web site provided as a public service by SitNews)

Save Ketchikan



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska