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Assembly to move on school initiatives, AJ Mine funding

Posted: August 21, 2011 - 7:37pm

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly is expected to take action on the Juneau School District request for two voter-initiatives to be placed on the ballot, and for funds to conduct further work on studying the possibility of reopening of the AJ Mine.

The school district wants to ask voters two similar questions on the ballot.

The first is to allow bonds in the sum of $1.19 million for turf replacement at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The turf has reached the end of its useful life, and was further damaged by a fire. The project would be eligible for state reimbursement funds for 70 percent, with the district paying for the remaining 30 percent.

The district would take revenue interest of $370,000 from the Thunder Mountain High School capital improvement project and use it to pay down other bond debts. It legally cannot use that interest to pay for the new projects.

The second question will ask voters to approve a bond for $1.4 million to upgrade the heating system during the planned Auke Bay Elementary School renovation from heating oil to ground source heat pumps. The district has said that the upfront cost of the heat pumps is significantly higher than other systems, however the annual maintenance and operational costs on the heat pumps are significantly lower.

This project also would qualify for the state reimbursement program with the same 70/30 percent ratio.

The district also intends to use revenue interest of $420,000 from completed Glacier Valley and Harbor View Elementary schools capital improvement projects to pay down other bond debt.

Each of the projects’ debt pay-down mechanisms would mean a tax drop for property-tax payers in the first year of the 10-year bonds.

After the first year it would cost taxpayers roughly $1.21 more per $100,000 of assessed value.

In other business, the Assembly may act on a proposal to set aside $250,000 toward the AJ Mine. The funds would be used for a water study, extra staff hours or pay and for any legal expenses in the initial process. The Assembly Committee of the Whole (which is the full Assembly) forwarded the measure to its acting body this summer.

The Assembly also is expected to take action on several fund transfer requests, mostly accepting federal and other grant monies to departments for projects like the Airport Runway Safety Expansion, Downtown Transit Center, Montana Creek Access repairs and others.

The Assembly is scheduled to close the night with an executive session reviewing the status of the Request for Proposals contract negotiations for city-wide recycling.

For a full agenda and supporting documents go to http://bit.ly/qNsRLg.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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