SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Budget Reality
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.

Charles Edwardson
Ketchikan, AK


Received December 06, 2008 - Published December 08, 2008



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Ketchikan, Alaska