By Charles Edwardson
December 08, 2008
The budget process has started
for Ketchikan and we have to shave off a half-million dollars.
One of the suggestions from staff is that possible positions
need to be cut at the city level,
Here's a thought. Let's place the displaced workers in the new
library; that should solve the problem. Borrow $15 to 20 million,
then tax the 12 thousand or less permanent citizens in Ketchikan
to float a bond issue and then hire all of the displaced workers
the city can not afford and put them in a new fancy library .
That really is not my thought. I just wanted to illustrate the
reality we must face in Ketchikan. I understand the budget process,
I was treasurer for Ketchikan Indian community (KIC) for two
and a half years. KIC is a local Native based organization that
is comprised of members from all over the nation, with a blood
quantum in more than half of our members predominantly non native,
so we are essentially a community organization that had its roots
in a native population. But our enrollment practices has allowed
a different, largely only partially native demographic to be
allowed to enjoy the privileges of KIC. We have a very large
budget, we deal with health care, housing, education, vocational
training, alcohol prevention programs, mental health issues,
diabetes programs ,tutoring ,and assist the district in educational
grant requirements, college tuitions, and a payroll of over seven
million dollars that circulates into this community. The entire
payroll from KIC is circulated at least three times equating
to 21 million dollars circulating in this community.
Here is how it works. As treasurer
I adhered to a well thought out ordinance written by past councils
and we stuck to it. Staff brings the KIC council a wish list.
We have three public meetings and the members express their hopes
for the limited budget we have and then the council makes the
gut wrenching decisions on how to prioritize "ESSENTIAL"
SERVICES. KIC has had a balanced budget for two years for the
first time in many. The council realized their responsibility
and made some very tough controversial decisions -- and yes,
staff changes. to balance the budget in the the best interest
of the entire organization. I would suggest that the city council
prioritize the "essential services" first and then
consider the wish list . It works.
Received December 06, 2008
- Published December 08, 2008
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