Here is the opinion in Williams v. Ketchikan Gateway Borough.
Fredrick Williams appeals the superior court’s decision affirming the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s ruling that the house at 511 Stedman Street is not exempt from Ketchikan Gateway Borough taxation. In March 2002 Williams received a grant to rebuild his house from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Housing Improvement Program. Under the grant, Williams would have been required to repay the full amount of the grant if he had transferred the house within ten years of ownership. Because Williams has owned the home for ten years, the repayment amount will annually decrease by ten percent of the original amount, resulting in no repayment for a transfer occurring 20 years or more after Williams received the grant. Williams executed a deed of trust securing the federal government’s right to repayment under the grant with the Stedman Street property. Williams claims that under the grant and the deed of trust, “[t]he federal government owns … the $115,000 it took to build the home,” and that Williams was therefore exempt from paying property taxes on it. On appeal, the superior court heard this argument and rejected it, upholding the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s view that the deed of trust securing the grant did not divest Williams, the record owner, of the ownership interest in his real property. Because we agree with the superior court that substantial evidence supports the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s factual determinations and that the Borough’s decision was correct as a matter of law, we AFFIRM the superior court and adopt its decision, which is attached as an appendix.