The Sitka Assembly meets at 5 p.m. in Harrigan Centennial Hall. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live at 6 p.m. (KCAW Photo)

As the Sitka Assembly looks for sustainable ways to raise revenue and fund government, they’ll debate several bold proposals during their regular meeting tonight (07-10-18). These ordinances have the potential to modify the local tax structure.

Assembly members Bob Potrzuski and Kevin Knox have developed two complementary ordinances. One (Motion and Ord 2018-31) would eliminate the sales tax on groceries and residential utilities. It would kick in January 1st.  However, the second ordinance (Motion and Ord 2018-32) states the tax break would only take effect if voters approve a 2 mill bump to property taxes. Voters rejected a 2 mill increase in 2016

Another ordinance, sponsored by Knox and Mayor Matthew Hunter, is also contingent on voter approval. Ord 2018-33 (Motion and Ord 2018-33) proposes to exempt bed taxes from sales tax, but only if voters approve raising bed taxes overall (Motion and Ord 2018-34). The net effect, the ordinance says, would be a 2-3% increase in bed taxes, depending on the applicable sales tax rate.

All that tax debate will come towards the end of the meeting. The meeting begins with a work session on the development of a local hazard mitigation plan.

Community Affairs Director Maegan Bosak and consultant Jill Missal will present the latest update of the plan (Sitka Mitigation Plan) at 5 p.m., which details how the city and its residents would plan and prepare for various hazards. Raven Radio will not broadcast this portion of the meeting.

At the top of the regular meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. , the Assembly will receive an update on the RFP process for Sitka Community Hospital. Three applicants  – Quorum Health ResourcesSEARHC, and Sitka Jet Center– have made their proposals for managing the local hospital public. 

The Assembly will also review marijuana license renewals for Northern Lights Indoor Gardens and Weed Dudes, and take a look at several agreements. That includes revisiting a lease with Trident Seafoods Corporation for storage space at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. Voted down last meeting, the Assembly will vote to rescind that decision and potentially vote again tonight.

The Assembly will also discuss negotiations with the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has operated Sitka’s Convention and Visitor Bureau services (“Visit Sitka“) for the past three years and after the contract expired June 30th, is the sole applicant to continue that service. The Assembly may enter executive session to discuss their proposal.

Raven News will broadcast the meeting live at 6 p.m. tonight, immediately following Alaska News Nightly.