Faced with the probability of another cancelled cruise season, Ketchikan’s borough revealed it was projecting a multimillion-dollar deficit.
However, despite the estimated USD 3,4 million shortfalls, officials said the borough would not burn through all savings.
In January, Ketchikan’s borough finance director, Cynna Gubatayao, told the Borough Assembly she was expecting a reduced cruise season to weigh upon sales tax revenues. Those are the largest source of the borough’s revenue - property taxes go towards funding the school district.
After Canada announced that it would keep its ports closed until 2022, Gubatayao is revising the projections further.
Gutbatayao is recommending that the borough not start any capital projects, not hire a seasonal workforce as well as continue a freeze on almost all travel. However, services should not be cut and nobody should lose their jobs.
The deficit for FY2021 (fiscal year/running from July 2020 through July 2021) was not nearly as big as local officials thought it would be: a projected USD 3,2 million deficit was revised down to roughly USD 1 million. Gubatayao said federal pandemic relief had filled some of the gaps. She added those transportation grants were separate from the USD 10 million in "CARES Act" funds that local officials spent on relief programs last year.
The smaller deficit is projected to leave the borough with USD 11,6 million in the bank at the beginning of July 2021 - more than 3 times the borough's projected deficit for this coming year.