Support for a Community Capital Projects Prioritization Process

August 14, 2014


The Honorable Members of the Assembly and Mayor Kiffer
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
1900 First Avenue
Ketchikan AK  99901

 Re:  Ketchikan Capital Projects Prioritization Process

The Membership, Board of Directors, and staff of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) hope that with this letter we can continue our ongoing conversation regarding the identification and prioritization of the community’s capital appropriation priorities. First, let us thank and commend you for amending Resolution 2554 to include past priorities and the opportunity for inclusion of community projects; comprehensiveness and patient deliberation is certainly not an enemy to this process, and we are supportive of your decision to wait and revisit Resolution 2554 at the August 18th Assembly meeting.

Again, our wish is to work with Borough staff to develop quantifiable and objective categories and criteria for use in comparing and evaluating projects. Additionally, we would like to work with Borough staff to create an independent project review committee responsible for using the criteria and categories developed to evaluate our community’s projects. This third-party committee would make recommendations to the Lobbying Executive Committee who, ultimately, would still be responsible for prioritizing and ratifying the community’s capital appropriations priorities.  With that end in mind, we resubmit in updated form our recommendations presented to you at the Assembly’s January planning session.

With the expectation that the Lobbying Executive Committee will again play a role in the capital appropriations prioritization process for FY 2016, we strongly believe that now is the time to consider the Chamber’s recommendations. In the face of shrinking budgets and shifting centers of political influence, it’s vital that Ketchikan’s capital requests be compelling and be the product of an objective and diligent evaluation process that will appeal to legislative decision-makers.

Our points for consideration by the Borough Assembly are:

  1. Categorize Requests and Develop Objective Criteria

Between now and September 1st, the Chamber wishes to work with the Borough Manager, Clerk, and staff to develop categories for differing capital request types, as well as to create a set of objective and measureable criteria which can be used year after year to analyze, compare, and prioritize investment opportunities in the greater Ketchikan area.

  1. Sample categories might include: transportation and transit, energy, public utilities, industrial infrastructure, marine, public-private partnerships, workforce development, public safety, public works, the arts, etc.
  2. Appendix A provides samples of various economic and investment criteria that may be considered for use in evaluating the relative merits of capital funding requests. These examples are provided here only as a guidance for potential criteria and concepts that may useful in evaluating Ketchikan project requests.
  1. Create an Independent Project Review Committee

Between now and September 1st, the Chamber wishes to work the Borough Manager, Clerk, and staff to form a third-party project review committee responsible for using the developed criteria and categories to evaluate community projects and make recommendations to the Lobbying Executive Committee.

  1. Committee members might be individuals experienced in measuring the merits of
    various potential investments, adept at performing economic cost-benefit analyses,
    and/or skilled in financial pro forma comparisons.
  1. Committee members should not have a personal and/or professional interest in any
    particular community project.

In closing, we wish to thank you for again considering our suggestions for the capital projects prioritization process. The Chamber looks forward to participating in the development of a single, quantifiable, repeatable process for selecting capital project priorities for the entire community of Ketchikan.

Personally, I look forward to discussing this matter further, and I welcome any and all input that can move this conversation forward in the coming weeks.



Chelsea J. Goucher, Executive Director
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
(907) 225-3184 or (907) 220-2133



Honorable Members of the Council and Mayor Williams III
Dan Bockhorst, Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Karl Amylon, City of Ketchikan
Leona Haffner, City of Saxman

Posted in: Letters of Support

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