Support for a Ketchikan Capital Projects Prioritization Process

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Support for a Ketchikan Capital Projects Prioritization Process

Support for a Ketchikan Capital Projects Prioritization Process

The Honorable Members of the Assembly and Mayor
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
1900 First Avenue
Ketchikan AK  99901 January 2, 2014


Re:  Ketchikan Capital Projects Prioritization Process

This letter is intended for your consideration during your policy session scheduled for January 10 – 11, 2014.  The Membership, Board of Directors, and staff of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) hope that with this letter we can continue the conversation initiated last fall regarding the identification and prioritization of the community’s state capital appropriation priorities. Our wish is to work with Borough staff to develop a quantifiable and objective process that uses categories and criteria to rank projects. With that end in mind, we have reworked our recommendations that we presented last fall, and we request that the Borough Assembly direct the Borough Manager and staff to work with the Chamber to develop a unified process by which future municipal and community projects are prioritized. Ultimately, the Chamber wishes to work in concert with Borough elected officials and staff to move the focus from who prioritizes the community’s capital projects to how they are prioritized. This will allow project evaluators and funders, regardless of who they are, to make reasoned determinations based on the relative and quantified merits of projects. 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
    The Chamber wishes to work with Borough Manager, Clerk, and staff to develop categories for differing capital request types and use these categories to organize capital requests.

    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. Develop and Adopt Objective Criteria
    The Chamber wishes to work with the Borough Manager, Clerk, and staff to create a set of objective and measurable criteria which can be used year after year to analyze, compare, and prioritize investment opportunities in the greater Ketchikan area.

    1. 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.  A spreadsheet matrix of criteria with a quantitative point scoring system can be collaboratively developed to arrive at a numerical score for project requests.  These examples are provided here only as a guidance for potential criteria and concepts that may useful in evaluating Ketchikan project requests.

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 new year.

Chelsea J. Goucher


Chelsea J. Goucher
Business Manager
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
(907) 225-3184 or (907) 220-2133


Dan Bockhorst, Borough Manager
Karl Amylon, City of Ketchikan
Leona Haffner, City of Saxman





The Chamber believes that prospective requests for capital appropriations should be measured against the expectations, preferences, and performance requirements of prospective investors – in this case, the State of Alaska.

  1.  How is the project in alignment with the Governor’s investment priorities?
  2.  Is the project in alignment with investment priorities of the State Legislature?
    • The State Legislature’s investment priorities are described through press releases and position statements made by committee chairs and legislative leadership.

Sample Criteria

AIDEA Criteria

The Alaska Industrial Export Authority’s (AIDEA’s) Strategic Plan can be accessed at: and provides a good overview of Alaska’s economic potential, project development and finance tools, and a project benchmark metrics for evaluating project potential.

A list of criteria based on AIDEA’s investment criteria is provided below.  This list provides options for project metrics which the community may wish to consider for use in analyzing and prioritizing capital project funding requests.

  1. Number of jobs created and/or retained
    1. Construction period
    2. Operations period
      1. Direct
      2. Indirect
      3. Induced
  2. Seasonality
    1. Seasonal jobs (describe seasonality)
    2. Temporary jobs (describe timeline)
    3. Year-round jobs which are sustained long-term
  3. Average hourly wage of jobs created and/or retained
  4. {6eea37bfe13b95d23a03cfc38adc78cfbe5ccf729c335a9a5a0f2bbb3b1d93c8} of total jobs created / retained which pay at or above median household income level for the region
  5. {6eea37bfe13b95d23a03cfc38adc78cfbe5ccf729c335a9a5a0f2bbb3b1d93c8} of jobs created / retained which are filled by current AK residents
  6. Jobs created / retained as {6eea37bfe13b95d23a03cfc38adc78cfbe5ccf729c335a9a5a0f2bbb3b1d93c8} of total jobs in Borough or Census Area
    1. Construction Period
    2. Operations Period
  7. Support for infrastructure and industry priorities
    1. Roads
    2. Water / Sewer
    3. Public Safety
    4. Marine
    5. Energy
    6. Mining
  8. Describe the extent to which the project and employment base intersects with and supports other industry sectors, investments, or opportunities.
  9. Amount and characteristics of private sector investment facilitated by public investment.
  10. Growth potential
    1. Describe the extent to which the investment supports emerging opportunities which display growth potential.
    2. Describe the extent to which the investment sustains mature opportunities which may have realized maximum or near-maximum growth, yet which are an important component of the local economy.
  11. Describe the extent to which the project links Ketchikan to new markets and economic opportunities
    1. Regional
    2. State-wide
    3. National
    4. International
    5. Total private sector investment facilitated by public investment
  12. Increase in State, local tax revenues / base

USEDA Investment Priorities

Included as a point of comparison are investment priorities identified by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA);

Within the parameters of a competitive grant process, all projects are evaluated to determine if they advance global competitiveness, create jobs, leverage public and private resources, can demonstrate readiness and ability to use funds quickly and effectively, and link to specific and measureable outcomes. To facilitate evaluation, EDA has established the following investment priorities:

  1. Collaborative Regional Innovation
    Initiatives that support the development and growth of innovation clusters based on existing regional competitive strengths. Initiatives must engage stakeholders; facilitate collaboration among urban, suburban, and rural (including tribal) areas; provide stability for economic development through long-term intergovernmental and public/private collaboration; and support the growth of existing and emerging industries.
  2. Public/Private Partnerships
    Investments that use both public- and private-sector resources and leverage complementary investments by other government/public entities and/or nonprofits.
  3. National Strategic Priorities
    Initiatives that encourage job growth and business expansion related to advanced manufacturing; information technology (e.g., broadband, smart grid) infrastructure; communities severely impacted by automotive industry restructuring; urban waters; natural disaster mitigation and resiliency; access to capital for small, medium-sized, and ethnically diverse enterprises; and innovations in science and health care.
  4. Global Competitiveness
    Initiatives that support high-growth businesses and innovation-based entrepreneurs to expand and compete in global markets, especially investments that expand U.S. exports, encourage foreign direct investment, and promote the repatriation of jobs back to the U.S.
  5. Environmentally-Sustainable Development
    Investments that promote job creation and economic prosperity through projects that enhance environmental quality and develop and implement green products, processes, places, and buildings as part of the green economy. This includes support for energy-efficient green technologies. For more information please click here (PDF).
  6. Economically Distressed and Underserved Communities
    Investments that strengthen diverse communities that have suffered disproportionate economic job losses and/or are rebuilding to become more competitive in the global economy.


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