July 4, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 27

Letters to the Editor

Local

preference

To the Editor:

I attended the Borough Council Meeting on July 1, 2013. I was disappointed to see attendance was so low but maybe the listening audience was large. Other than Department Heads, Councilpersons, me, Joe Viechnicki and the new police chief, there was only one other person present.

Acting Mayor Sue Flint conducted a short, sweet, and to the point meeting that everyone appreciated. Bravo.

There were two things that bothered me. The first was personal in that they are going to enter into a contract with Mike Renfro who is going to come out and tell me how much tax I have to pay for no services. Boo. Hiss. The second should be of concern to all Petersburg Borough residents.

Our borough government has taken a stab at correcting the issue of local preference. I think they fell short of the mark. A careful reading of proposed ordinance 2013-10 seems to say that if a bid comes in over $500,000 for any project, local preference will not apply. I think setting this cap will be a costly error for us.

Take the recent bid given to a Ketchikan outfit. Money flew out of our pockets and into the wallets of our neighbors to the south. Because of the way the proposed ordinance is written, it appears that would still be the case even with this attempt to correct the problem. I'll round off the figures and try to explain.

Ketchikan bids $7,000,000. Local fellow bids 5% over or $7,350,000. If we give the bid to local fellow it costs us $350,000 up front. Here is where I might be all wet but bear with me. Assume 1/3 of local fellow's bid remains in Petersburg in the form of wages, property taxes, local purchases, rentals, and subcontracts. That puts $2,205,000 in local circulation. If half of that amount is used to buy stuff, the borough collects $66,150. It is accepted that money circulates about seven times before leaving. Seven times $66,150 is $463,050 for a profit to the borough of $113,050. Not bad for having a bunch of local people employed.

I'm probably wrong but it sure seems that potential local prosperity is thwarted by the way the proposed ordinance is written. Local preference will not be given for large projects. Bummer Dude. I hate to see our hard earned money fly south without me.

George Cole

Keene Channel

Tongass facts

To the Editor:

U.S.D.A. Forest Service is administering our forest resources with a lack of information and a disparity amongst resources.

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service is required to implement a comprehensive program to monitor the response of elements of wildlife habitat to silvicultural treatments as directed by the Timber Sale Program Adaptive Management Strategy. (U.S.D.A. Forest Service 2008)

As of 2010 a technical guide for monitoring wildlife habitat (Tongass Wide Young Growth Studies) or (TWYGS) was established to use forest-wide adaptive management studies to evaluate young-growth silvicultural options. This program is intended to last a minimum of 20 to 30 years in order to adequately access long-term responses of vegetation (including wildlife habitat) to silvicultural treatments and provide a sound basis for future young-growth management on the Tongass National Forest. (Northern Ecologic LLC tech. bulletin 2010-4)

An extensive search of published literature or unpublished reports revealed that there has been limited formal collection, analysis and reporting of monitoring data. Most reports of monitoring vegetation response to silvicultural treatments in young-growth forests report only the effects of treatments on tree growth; they did not evaluate the response of wildlife habitat. (Northern Ecologic LLC tech. bulletin 2010-4)

The U.S.F.S. estimates year 2054 should produce a second-growth harvest of marketable timber for industry but cannot estimate vegetative responses to silvicultural treatments until years 2044 or 2054; the same time as second entry timber harvest.

As of year 2000 approximately 400,000 acres of Tongass National Forest have been harvested as timber production with long-term impacts to wildlife. Between years 1971 and 2000 U.S.F.S. Treated Young-Growth Acres totaled 66,039 acres of timber intensification objectives and 2,078 acres of wildlife, fisheries, or watershed objectives. The resources devoted to wildlife and fisheries habitat enhancement is just 3ΒΌ% of that devoted to timber production. (Exhibit 6, Tongass Harvest by fiscal year including accomplishments needs and surveys).

More information later.

David B. Randrup

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