By 2025, seniors are expected to have grown to include 20 percent of Juneau’s population. This statistic was part of the Juneau Economic Development Council’s presentation to the City and Borough of Juneau Committee of the Whole meeting recently, as reported in the June 24 Juneau Empire.
Some in the community are doing well while changes are impacting others negatively.
Affordable housing is needed and assisted-living resources are in serious short supply. Operation and Maintenance of water and sewer services requires financial support, and it may be necessary to increase the rates for customers from time to time. Right now, a new, substantial rate Increase is on the consent agenda for tonight’s regular CBJ Assembly meeting. This is going to hit me and many others hard.
Low and fixed-income seniors in our community, especially single women, who already struggle to cover living expenses need help. I recommend an amendment to the proposed rate increase ordinance (# 2014-36), one that would provide for a senior hardship exemption to those residents who already receive a hardship exemption for property tax. For those seniors who perhaps rent and are required to pay for CBJ utilities but would qualify for such an exemption based on income and expenses, they could go through a similar application process as residential property owners. This would provide significant relief for those of us on limited income and who wish to continue to live in Juneau.
Hopefully our public servants will take these steadfast, contributing citizens into consideration when they take up this ordinance.
Member, CBJ Commission on Aging