KETCHIKAN — The city of Ketchikan wants more help financing emergency calls and City Manager Karl Amylon says service outside the city could be cut off if it doesn’t get some help from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
“I would contend it’s basically a city call, and if the borough doesn’t want to negotiate an agreement with us, that’s fine,” he said Friday at a Joint Cooperative Relations Committee meeting. “Just tell me where I can start referring the (911 calls) to on July 1. Because it’s my intent, unless we come to an agreement, that we’re not going to provide the service.”
Both city and borough residents pay a $2 fee for 911 service.
Amylon said he did not agree with his counterpart at the borough, Dan Bockhorst, that requiring borough residents to pay more would double charge them. The fee, Amylon said, covers the cost of the computerized emergency response system but not the salaries, benefits and supplied need to operate the dispatch center.
The Ketchikan Daily News reported that Amylon is requesting that the borough pay $170,000 to $210,000 to defray dispatch center costs.
The suggestion of cutting off 911 service caught Bockhorst and others by surprise.
“It’s inappropriate at this time to draw lines in the sand,” Bockhorst said.
The committee had just begun discussing dispatch costs, he said, and Amylon’s ultimatum “kind of shocks and surprises me.”
“I find it frankly abrupt,” Bailey said.
Amylon, in answer to a question, said it would take voter approval to increase the 911 fee.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said.
The committee directed Amylon and Bockhorst to continue negotiating for a call-center solution.